Yes Mary. Everything Does. And Too Soon. Way Too Soon. (RIP)

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

~ Mary Oliver (Sept 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019), “Summer”

In her poem “When Death Comes,” Oliver wrote this about the inevitable: “When it’s over, I want to say all my life/ I was a bride married to amazement.”

(Source: NPR – Beloved Poet Mary Oliver, Who Believed Poetry ‘Mustn’t Be Fancy,’ Dies At 83)

Photo Credit


  1. one of my favorites and miss her already

    Liked by 2 people

  2. montanalulu says:

    a day of mourning…and joy for her life…..

    Liked by 5 people

  3. freddiegeorgia says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE. Her words and ways of seeing and feeling and her gifted writing will live on for soooo very long..perhaps the end of this planet. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Prefer choice, David.
    It is always to soon, no matter.
    This date is significant foer me, too

    Liked by 2 people

  5. She really saw, appreciated and celebrated the gift of life…thankful that the words she wrote about the life she witnessed will be left with us as a touch stone for all to cherish…as we walk along the shoreline, through an emerging springtime field or watch a bird in a tree going about its day…perhaps will think of her gift of words…

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thanks, David. You are the one who introduced me to her works. I am grateful. RIP, Mary Oliver.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Mourning her too. Thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Nice that she left so much behind for us to enjoy. Sorry that she’s gone.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. She was one of my favorite poets. She has left us so much beauty. A gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Here are the words of another great woman on this sad day;

    When Great Trees Fall

    When great trees fall,
    rocks on distant hills shudder,
    lions hunker down
    in tall grasses,
    and even elephants
    lumber after safety.

    When great trees fall
    in forests,
    small things recoil into silence,
    their senses
    eroded beyond fear.

    When great souls die,
    the air around us becomes
    light, rare, sterile.
    We breathe, briefly.
    Our eyes, briefly,
    see with
    a hurtful clarity.
    Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
    gnaws on kind words
    promised walks
    never taken.

    Great souls die and
    our reality, bound to
    them, takes leave of us.
    Our souls,
    dependent upon their
    now shrink, wizened.
    Our minds, formed
    and informed by their
    fall away.
    We are not so much maddened
    as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
    of dark, cold

    And when great souls die,
    after a period peace blooms,
    slowly and always
    irregularly. Spaces fill
    with a kind of
    soothing electric vibration.
    Our senses, restored, never
    to be the same, whisper to us.
    They existed. They existed.
    We can be. Be and be
    better. For they existed.

    ~ Maya Angelou

    Liked by 7 people

    • So appropriate and beautiful. Had not seen this before. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sawsan. A perfect elegy…

      Liked by 3 people

    • Sawsan; as so often, I applaud you for this choice. Did you know (how could you) that I presented to my family (mum, sisters and brother) a ‘collection’ of suitable photos for the (future) demise of our mother and on some of them featured a number of trees, standing upright but with no leaves on the branches, fallen and yet still mighty…. etc. Because as Mary here I see my mum as a ‘great tree’ in the forest of other ‘lesser’ trees and once she will be gone, a huge space of goodness, wisdom will be filling only very slowly, over a long period of time, with more of her…. Angelou is another immensely ‘great’ spirit!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. :-(.
    I’m glad I read of it only here, where it’s soft and bright.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Gives me goosebumps.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such a visceral reaction when I heard – a small hollowing out in my heart.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. For me too, she was great poet. And I think she is the one who is/was loved by so many people in the world… I am so sad now. Rest In Peace Mary Oliver, your poetry will be always with me/with us…

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Her work will forever live on in my heart. RIP Mary.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Omg I didn’t know. 😔 Her beautiful words and deep wisdom will live on in all of us. Such a gift to me, I have learned so much from her and have learned to sit in nature and see what she sees and who knew this deeply long before any of us.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I starred at the blanket of stars above me this morning a bit longer for Mary…

    Liked by 2 people

  18. David, I also was introduced to her through your blog. Thank you. I love the last two lines:
    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?”

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I so liked this

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Reblogged this on Views from the Edge and commented:
    David Kannigan’s quotation of Mary Oliver “When Death Comes” has special meaning today while family and friends anticipate the end of a precious life that will die at last, and too soon from pancreatic cancer. We’re paying close attention, kneeling down in the grass for a holy rest and peace at the last.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. ” … your one wild and precious life.” Those six words say so much. Thank you for the reminder, David.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. […] via Yes Mary. Everything Does. And Too Soon. Way Too Soon. (RIP) […]

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