Poetry Friday: Morning Poem, Mary Oliver

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 Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Tabatha Yeatts from The Opposite of Indifference.

These days, the sun hasn’t quite risen yet when I arrive at school.  Our classroom windows, however, face somewhat towards the east.  Sometimes, if I have a few moments before the kids stream in with their bright chatter and “check this out, Mrs. Smith”, I can catch the sky in all its morning glory.  Most often, I do not.
On Thursday morning, Colin came into our room, went to our window right away, and said,  “Look at that sky, Mrs. Smith – look at the morning.”
So, we stood at the window for a few minutes, and greeted the morning as every morning should be greeted, with reverence and hope.
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Morning Poem, Mary Oliver

Every morning

the world

is created.

Under the orange

 

sticks of the sun

the heaped

ashes of the night

turn into leaves again

 

and fasten themselves to the high branches —

and the ponds appear

like black cloth

on which are painted islands


of summer lilies.

If it is your nature

to be happy

you will swim away along the soft trails

 

for hours, your imagination

alighting everywhere.

And if your spirit

carries within it

 

the thorn

that is heavier than lead —

if it’s all you can do

to keep on trudging —

 

there is still

somewhere deep within you

a beast shouting that the earth

is exactly what it wanted —


each pond with its blazing lilies

is a prayer heard and answered

lavishly,

every morning,

 

whether or not

you have ever dared to be happy,

whether or not

you have ever dared to pray.

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10 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Morning Poem, Mary Oliver

  1. This is a beautiful photo, Tara. Is this what you saw from your window? I am amazed you, and the children, are at school so early in the day. The poem that you have shared to accompany the photo is beautiful in its imagery. There is a lot of lovely language there to share with children, and much to appreciate and ponder upon. I feel a special calmness just reading it.

  2. Your photo would fit right in with the art I shared this Thursday (the theme was “morning”!). The poem is wonderful, of course, but so is your description: “So, we stood at the window for a few minutes, and greeted the morning as every morning should be greeted, with reverence and hope.”

  3. This, each pond with its blazing lilies

    is a prayer heard and answered

    lavishly,

    every morning,” and this, “greeted the morning as every morning should be greeted, with reverence and hope.”

    You and Mary and Colin praising the morning. I learned years ago that this is an aubade, a morning love song. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Mary Oliver’s poem is the perfect complement to your words “…as every morning should be greeted, with reverence and hope.” So wise, yet so easy to forget as we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our days. Thank you for this beautiful reminder, Tara!

  5. Thank you, Margaret for a new word! I can just picture you and Colin at the window. He may not remember that moment twenty years from now, but it (and you) will always be a part of who he is.

  6. What a beautiful memory with your students, Tara. I’m happy that he brought you to the window rather than the other way round-tells me that his teacher has modeled well that looking for the little things of beauty is important. The poem, those ‘sun sticks’ and ‘ashy leaves’-so gorgeous.

  7. Tara, I love, love, love this poem! Adding it to a little collection of morning poems that I have been making. Like Mary Lee, I’m so thankful that there are teachers like you who take time to look at the sunrise with their students. Colin is learning some really important stuff from you!

  8. Not much I can add to a poem by Mary Oliver. There’s a reason why she’s one of the rare poets who is a best-selling author. I’m happy to see that Colin is comfortable enough with you to reveal his “softer” side. Lucky you.

  9. Those last eight lines caught me:

    each pond with its blazing lilies
    is a prayer heard and answered
    lavishly,
    every morning,

    whether or not
    you have ever dared to be happy,
    whether or not
    you have ever dared to pray.

    – the morning goes on whether you believe in its beauty or not. 🙂

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