Mary Oliver on Grief and Loss | Modern Society of USA

Mary Oliver on Grief and Loss

Mary Oliver on Grief and Loss

Readers wrote of their appreciation for the hallmarks of Oliver’s work: reverence for the natural world and her frank, but comforting, descriptions of mourning.

Some notable passages are below.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

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.

O, I go to see the great ships ride from harbor,
And my wounds leap with impatience; yet I turn back
To sort the weeping ruins of my house:
Here or nowhere I will make peace with the fact.

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

There are moments when the veil seems
almost to lift, and we understand what
the earth is meant to mean to us — the
trees in their docility, the hills in
their patience, the flowers and the
vines in their wild, sweet vitality.
Then the Word is within us, and the
Book is put away.

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