A Tribute to Mary Oliver

by Christine Sine

Today poet Mary Oliver died.

It was her poem Snow Geese in her book Why I Wake Early that first captured my attention. It begins with the beautiful lines:

O to love what is lovely and will not last!

What a task

to ask

of anything or anyone,

But it was probably Dog Songs that fully captured my attention and made me feel that I had met a kindred spirit. Her love of nature is celebrated with joyful abandon in so many of her poems and the deep spirituality that flows through all she wrote is perceived with breathtaking clarity. She has been one of the inspirational voices that encouraged me to write my own poems.

Mary Oliver will be dearly missed by all of us, but her spirit will live on in the beauty of her poems for a long time to come. And I feel there is no better epitaph for her than the closer words of her poem At Black River

Don’t think

I am not afraid.

There is such an unleashing

of horror

Then I remember:

death comes before

the rolling away

of stone.

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