“Ocean” and “After Her Death” by Mary Oliver


I am in love with Ocean
lifting her thousands of white hats
in the chop of the storm,
or lying smooth and blue, the
loveliest bed in the world.
In the personal life, there is

always grief more than enough,
a heart-load for each of us
on the dusty road. I suppose
there is a reason for this, so I will be
patient, acquiescent. But I will live
nowhere except here, by Ocean, trusting
equally in all the blast and welcome
of her sorrowless, salt self.

– Mary Oliver, from Red Bird


After Her Death

I am trying to find the lesson
for tomorrow. Matthew something.
Which lectionary? I have not
forgotten the Way, but, a little,
the way to the Way. The trees keep whispering
peace, peace, and the birds
in the shallows are full of the
bodies of small fish and are
content. They open their wings
so easily, and fly. It is still

I open the book
which the strange, difficult, beautiful church
has given me. To Matthew. Anywhere.

– Mary Oliver, from Thirst


~ For Hannah, with love and peace today, and always. Shine on.

2 thoughts on ““Ocean” and “After Her Death” by Mary Oliver

  1. Hannah Richell

    So immensely touched. I didn’t know either of these poems before today. So beautiful. So right. Thank you. x


    1. You’re so welcome. I rarely post two, but couldn’t decide. It was as if they were meant to go together for you.

      Mary’s book Thirst was written after her life partner died. Her reflections on grief have brought me much peace when the emptiness feels too great. x

      Sent from my iPhone



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