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Top 350 Mary Oliver Quotes (2023 Update)
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Mary Oliver Quote: “No poet ever wrote a poem to dishonor life, to compromise high ideals, to scorn religious views, to demean hope or gratitude, to argue against tenderness, to place rancor before love, or to praise littleness of soul. Not one. Not ever.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “For Emerson, the value and distinction of transcendentalism was very much akin to this swerving and rolling away from acute definition. All the world is taken in through the eye, to reach the soul, where it becomes more, representative of a realm deeper than appearances: a realm ideal and sublime, the deep stillness that is, whose whole proclamation is the silence and the lack of material instance in which, patiently and radiantly, the universe exists.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Invention hovers always a little above the rules.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “We do not think of it every day, but we never forget it: the beloved shall grow old, or ill, and be taken away finally. No matter how ferociously we fight, how tenderly we love, how bitterly we argue, how pervasively we berate the universe, how cunningly we hide, this is what shall happen.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I’ll just leave you with this. I don’t care how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It’s enough to know that for some people, they exist, and that they dance.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Because there is no substitute for vigorous and exact description, I would like to say how your eyes, at twilight, reflect, at the same time, the beauty of the world, and its crimes.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I am not ready, nor worthy, I am climbing toward you.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I was very careful never to take an interesting job. If you have an interesting job, you get interested in it.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I’ve always wanted to write poems and nothing else.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Belief isn’t always easy. But this much I have learned – if not enough else – to live with my eyes open.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “What is certain in the rational realm is by no means certain in the kingdom of swoon.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “To interrupt the writer from the line of thought is to wake the dreamer from the dream. The dreamer cannot enter that dream, precisely as it was unfolding, ever again.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “A poet’s interest in craft never fades, of course.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “And this is what I learned: that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion, that standing within this otherness – the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books – can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Everybody has to have their little tooth of power. Everybody wants to be able to bite.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “It’s very important to write things down instantly, or you can lose the way you were thinking out a line. I have a rule that if I wake up at 3 in the morning and think of something, I write it down. I can’t wait until morning-it’ll be gone.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Children play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them. It’s duty.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “All things are inventions of holiness. Some more rascally than others. I.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “To find a new word that is accurate and different, you have to be alert for it.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Now of all voyagers I remember, who among them Did not board ship with grief among their maps?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I simply was not able to risk wrecking her world, and I could see no possible way I could move the whole kingdom. So I left her with the only thing I could – the certainty of a little more time.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “You can fool a lot of yourself but you can’t fool the soul. That worrier.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “What is one to do with such moments, such memories, but cherish them? Who knows what is beyond the known? And if you think that any day the secret of light might come, would you not keep the house of your mind ready? Would you not cleanse your study of all that is cheap, or trivial? Would you not live in continual hope, and pleasure, and excitement?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Are the roses not also – even as the owl is – excessive? Each flower is small and lovely, but in their sheer and silent abundance the roses become an immutable force, as though the work of the wild roses was to make sure that all of us, who come wandering over the sand, may be, for a while, struck to the heart and saturated with a simple joy.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I consider myself kind of a reporter – one who uses words that are more like music and that have a choreography. I never think of myself as a poet; I just get up and write.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “This I have always known – that if I did not live my life immersed in the one activity which suits me, and which also, to tell the truth, keeps me utterly happy and intrigued, I would come someday to bitter and mortal regret.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “My responsibility is not to the ordinary, or the timely. It does not include mustard, or teeth. It does not extend to the lost button, or the beans in the pot. My loyalty is to the inner vision, whenever and howsoever it may arrive.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “The poem was made not just to exist, but to speak – to be company. It was everything that was needed, when everything was needed.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Be what you are, of the earth, but a dreamer too.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Wherever I am, the world comes after me. It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “I very much wished not to be noticed, and to be left alone, and I sort of succeeded.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Poems must, of course, be written in emotional freedom. Moreover, poems are not language but the content of the language.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “LONELINESS I too have known loneliness. I too have known what it is to feel misunderstood, rejected, and suddenly not at all beautiful. Oh, mother earth, your comfort is great, your arms never withhold. It has saved my life to know this. Your rivers flowing, your roses opening in the morning. Oh, motions of tenderness!”
Mary Oliver Quote: “A fact: one picks it up and reads it, and puts it down, and there is an end to it. But an idea! That one may pick up, and reflect upon, and oppose, and expand, and so pass a delightful afternoon altogether.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Is a prayer a gift, or a petition, or does it matter? The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way. Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Knowledge has entertained me and it has shaped me and it has failed me. Something in me still starves.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Now that I’m free to be myself, who am I?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “We may be touched by the most powerful of suppositions – even to a certainty – as we stand in the rose petals of the sun and hear a murmur from the wind no louder than the sound it makes as it dozes under the bee’s wings. This, too, I suggest, is the weather, and worthy of report.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Here is an amazement – once I was twenty years old and in every motion of my body there was a delicious ease, and in every motion of the green earth there was a hint of paradise, and now I am sixty years old, and it is the same.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Language is rich, and malleable. It is a living, vibrant material, and every part of a poem works in conjunction with every other part – the content, the place, the diction, the rhythm, the tone-as well as the very sliding, floating, thumping, rapping sounds of it.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “We do not love anything more deeply than we love a story...”
Mary Oliver Quote: “And probably, if they don’t waste time looking for an easier world, they can do it.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “What I mean by spirituality is not theology, but attitude.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “The world where the owl is endlessly hungry and endlessly on the hunt is the world in which I live too. There is only one world.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “How shall I go on, with my introspective and ambitious life?”
Mary Oliver Quote: “Well, who knows. Who knows what hung, fluttering, at the window between him and the darkness. Anyway, Blake the hosier’s son stood up and turned away from the sooty sill and the dark city – turned away forever from the factories, the personal strivings, to a life of the imagination.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “God, or the gods, are invisible, quite understandable. But holiness is visible, entirely.”
Mary Oliver Quote: “To believe in the soul – to believe in it exactly as much and as hardily as one believes in a mountain, say, or a fingernail, which is ever in view – imagine the consequences! How far-reaching, and thoroughly wonderful! For everything, by such a belief, would be charged, and changed. You wake in the morning, the soul exists, your mouth sings it, your mind accepts it. And the perceived, tactile world is, upon the instant, only half the world!”
Mary Oliver Quote: “My first two books are out of print and, okay, they can sleep there comfortably. It’s early work, derivative work.”
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