“First Yoga Lesson” by Mary Oliver

“Be a lotus in the pond,” she said, “opening
slowly, no single energy tugging
against another but peacefully,
all together.”

I couldn’t even touch my toes.
“Feel your quadriceps stretching?” she asked.
Well, something was certainly stretching.

Standing impressively upright, she
raised one leg and placed it against
the other, then lifted her arms and
shook her hands like leaves. “Be a tree,” she said.

I lay on the floor, exhausted.
But to be a lotus in the pond
opening slowly, and very slowly rising–
that I could do.

“First Yoga Lesson” by Mary Oliver from Blue Horses. © Penguin, 2014.

5 thoughts on ““First Yoga Lesson” by Mary Oliver

  1. Naida Hyde

    Thank you so much for the poems you post. This is wonderful, not one I have seen before by the superlative Mary Oliver. Made my day.


  2. Lynda Jeffrey Martin

    Oh to be like a tree and/or a lotus blossom especially in times such as these!
    Thank you for the reminder.


  3. Thank you for these poems. i find they have become a companion with my early morning cup of tea, whilst the day gathers itself to begin anew. its been a treat to revisit and discover new poems from Mary Oliver..what a master she is. poetry can be so precise in offering the feeling. so pertinent for these times of deep challenge many are facing these days. thank you. Kumari


  4. This…this…this!
    Full of so much levity and truth.
    Like Mary often does…feels like she wrote it for me.
    And, it feels like you picked it for me and Mish, too. xoxox


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