“A Pretty Song” by Mary Oliver

From the complications of loving you
I think there is no end or return.
No answer, no coming out of it.
Which is the only way to love, isn’t it?

This isn’t a play ground, this is
earth, our heaven, for a while.
Therefore I have given precedence
to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods

that hold you in the center of my world.
And I say to my body: grow thinner still.
And I say to my fingers, type me a pretty song.
And I say to my heart: rave on.

– Mary Oliver, Thirst


Happy Birthday to Mary Oliver (born September 10, 1935) who turns 80 today. Rave on, Mary, rave on.

(If you too love Mary’s work, don’t miss the post “Poems, Prayers, and Mary Oliver” featured at LoraKim Joyner’s A Year’s Risings with Mary Oliver. The blog is a “must follow” for Mary Oliver fans; while it’s not often updated, there are plenty of posts and poems to read in her archives.)

7 thoughts on ““A Pretty Song” by Mary Oliver

  1. mishedup

    rave on mary!

    i love this particular poem so…it felt like permission to me to allow my feelings to be, to grieve and “grow thinner still”.
    happy happy happy birthday!

    Liked by 2 people

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