I'm not exactly sure when I feel in love with Mary Oliver's work. I met her on a trip to Iona Scotland with my mom, on a women's Pilgrimage. Or maybe I met her at the Harmony Hill, in Union Washington. In the beginning, Mary felt like a poet I should like. I should like poetry and I should get her work. But I didn't. Maybe it wasn't time, or my mind was too busy to settle in on a poem. I don't know.
And then one day...a sort of lightbulb went off. For over a year, I've been running a weekly online clutter clearing circle. Each week, I find at least 4 quotes, sayings, or poems to share. It's been during this last year that I met Mary again.
Maybe I just needed the right poem, in the perfect moment. I'm sharing with you one of my favorites. When I feel not quiet half perfect, I smile.
Read this poem, slowly. Savor it's message. You are not perfect, maybe not even half perfect. Neither am I. Thank goodness we are still in process- not done. Tuck this poem into your back pocket for those days when you feel less than stelar. And know there is a world of imperfect souls out there- kindred spirits of imperfection.
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird-
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work.
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and those body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.