And then the butterfly rose, weightless, in the wind

The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves…
for long delicious moments it is perfect
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower…
One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond…
some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain…
For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then
the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
“don’t love your life
too much,” it said,
and vanished into the world.

~Mary Oliver, from “One or Two Things” in Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver 

Notes: Poem – Thank you Make Believe Boutique. Photo: Photomarc by Marc Gijsbers


  1. yes, one or two things are more than enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is it possible to love life too much, when watching a butterfly dancing in the breeze?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ❤️


  5. Too late, butterfly. I already love my life too much.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Such effortless grace.


  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Amazingly beautiful … this is the soothing beauty I need this morning!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ah, that Mary Oliver always gets right down to it.


  9. I love this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting… “don’t love your life too much…”
    Wonder how much too much is?


  11. Oh-h Mary Oliver! Ah-h butterflies!
    I’m back from Atlanta and their airport functioning again….
    I don’t have your email address, but…
    Here’s the Word Press notice on privacy policy I promised:
    Howdy Valerie,

    As part of our commitment to privacy and transparency, we’re updating our Privacy Policy. We want to give you more information about how we collect and use personal information — in a more organized and readable format. You are receiving this email because you have a WordPress.​com account, notlikemothermade, for the sites:

    Our updated Privacy Policy is here. Our blog post explaining the changes in more detail is here and we put together a FAQ for you about the policy here.

    You don’t need to take any action. Our new Privacy Policy will go into effect on January 3, 2018, and by continuing to use our services on or after January 3, 2018 you’ll be consenting to the new Privacy Policy.

    Thank you!

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  12. “don’t love your life too much,”
    Through metamorphosis the caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly. The caterpillar must die to itself to rise to the higher state of the butterfly.
    God provides such validation in nature to impress upon us that death is not an end, but a transfiguration to a higher life. The quote from the poem rightly warns, don’t love you life too much. For in an unwillingness to let it go – in not dying to oneself – we cannot aspire nor attain the greater life intended for us.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Made me very nearly cry with the beauty and the perfect poem – I KNOW that the caterpillar has to ‘die’ to be able to transform into a butterfly – I think the question is not whether we love life too much (and some days there is not that much to love!) but whether we’re able to look beyond the moment (in life). Oh heck, I can’t put it into words – but anyway, it’s pure loveliness 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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