Friday, 17 April 2015

O is for One and Only..and Outstanding ....and Oliver

Oliver, Mary (1935 - )

Mary Oliver is an American, critically acclaimed poet, one of the most widely read and popular contemporary American poet living. Some describe her as 'far and away the best selling American poet'. She is known for her poignant mindfulness and love of nature.  Today my prompt is her poem 'I want' from her collection called Evidence.

A minor co-conspirator

The tigerlily in a patch of weeds,
the peacock unfurling jewelled kilts in monsoon -
well, I am not them, I prefer to keep
a lower profile, I’d just as soon
be a blade of grass, their edges sharp and keen their thrust,
the stunning white plumes in a field of reeds,
the compelling rasp that makes you slip
off your sandals and stand barefoot, hushed.

A co-conspirator, but a minor one.
A tigerlily’s costume pricks, the peacock’s air
is surly, a humourless bird with a fancy train
weighing him down. I’d rather nothing showy or rare;
a blade of grass is fine, as sacred as other, showier leaves,
more so than tigerlilies playing dress up in golden
leopard prints; maybe a sparrow, that returns again
to nest in your skylights, to rest under your eaves.

Once upon a time I lived in sparsely populated, isolated spaces, the wilderness was the backyard, and while we didn't have to do without any of the mod cons, nature was a visible presence, seasons were starkly felt.  I am not a big city person even now, a few years of that spoils one forever, Where would you choose to live, if you had the choice?

Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2015.


  1. I dream about living in the big city, but the noise would probably drive me crazy. I'm pretty happy living where I do, in a somewhat smaller city with a great community of friendly writers!

    Come visit me at

  2. A simple blade of grass...
    I'd like to live in a decent sized city, but up in the mountains. Or just outside of a really big city so there is a lot to do.

  3. I like to live near a city, but not directly in the city.

  4. Love my location. My back yard is a field that is full of wildlife, deer, turkey, red tailed hawks and more. Not a city girl but I do love to visit :)

  5. I need the beach. I'm a water baby, and I hate not being close to it.

  6. Hi Nila - lovely thought here in your poem and I've heard of Mary Oliver - but haven't read any of her works ...

    I'd like to have a place in London, a place in Cornwall .. and here and I'd like to be able to travel .. South Africa, and places I've yet to visit ..

    Cheers Hilary

  7. What a beautiful poem, Nila. I too aspire to be a blade of grass in a verdant field. Thank you for expressing that wish so evocatively.

  8. And she is still alive today? That's awesome. So is her poem. :)

  9. Thanks for sharing this poem. Not sure where else I'd to live. I know I'd want to visit Egypt.

  10. I would love to live on the country side. Have a large wildlife garden and see the forest close by. A small lake to swim in during the summer and all the time in the world to spend at this place, my dream home...

  11. I love living near the city, but if I could build my perfect house, I would build it near the ocean and live there listening to the waves.

    Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

  12. You are on my list to check if you are being part of the A to Z Challenge.

    THANK YOU for being up to the letter "O"... or in some cases near it :)
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

  13. Really beautiful!
    I live close to the beach... I'm happy with where I am.

  14. Astonishing breadth of knowledge!

    Beautiful writing too.

    I think that I need to be closer to the sea than I am - but I cannot complain!


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