Mary Oliver Quotes for Spring

mary oliver

I adore the sense of aliveness and vitality that comes with spring. As if I could feel it actually turn on with the vernal equinox, everything feels endlessly full of hope. 

This year I can't enough Mary Oliver poetry. I've collected my favorites here so that I can share them all at once. I promise they will make you want to fall in love with your life. Enjoy!

Mary Oliver Quotes

“Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”  

“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

“to live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go” 

“You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.”

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”

“I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.”

“Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled—
to cast aside the weight of facts
and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.”

“Love yourself. Then forget it.
Then, love the world.”

“Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.” 

“But I also say this: that light is an invitation to happiness, and that happiness, when it's done right, is a kind of holiness, palpable and redemptive. ”

“Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?” 

“Today I'm flying low and I'm not saying a word. I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep. The world goes on as it must, the bees in the garden rumbling a little, the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten. And so forth. But I'm taking the day off. Quiet as a feather. I hardly move though really I'm traveling a terrific distance. Stillness. One of the doors into the temple.” 

“And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?”

xx