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Top 67 Mary Oliver Quotes (HOUSE OF LIGHT)

Top 10 Most Famous Mary Oliver Quotes (BEST)

“To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.”

Mary Oliver
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.
It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.
If I have any lasting worth, it will be because I have tried to make people remember what the Earth is meant to look like.
If I have any lasting worth, it will be because I have tried to make people remember what the Earth is meant to look like.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
You can have the other words chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it.
You can have the other words: chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it.
Listen – are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?
Listen – are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

12 Inspirational Mary Oliver Quotes About Life (HAPPINESS)

“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
I simply do not distinguish between work and play.
I simply do not distinguish between work and play.
Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.
To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.
You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.
You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.
Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields... Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.
Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields… Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.
We all have a hungry heart, and one of the things we hunger for is happiness. So as much as I possibly could, I stayed where I was happy.
We all have a hungry heart, and one of the things we hunger for is happiness. So as much as I possibly could, I stayed where I was happy.
I very much wished not to be noticed, and to be left alone, and I sort of succeeded.
I very much wished not to be noticed, and to be left alone, and I sort of succeeded.
I acknowledge my feeling and gratitude for life by praising the world and whoever made all these things.
I acknowledge my feeling and gratitude for life by praising the world and whoever made all these things.
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it.
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it.
But I also say this: that light is an invitation to happiness, and that happiness, when it’s done right, is a kind of holiness, palpable and redemptive.
But I also say this: that light is an invitation to happiness, and that happiness, when it’s done right, is a kind of holiness, palpable and redemptive.
I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us…
I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us…

7 Mary Oliver Quotes on Her Beliefs

“The woods that I loved as a child are entirely gone. The woods that I loved as a young adult are gone. The woods that most recently I walked in are not gone, but they’re full of bicycle trails.”

Mary Oliver
I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.
I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.
I believe art is utterly important. It is one of the things that could save us.
I believe art is utterly important. It is one of the things that could save us.
To tell you the truth, I believe everything - tigers, trees, stones - are sentient in one way or another. You'd never catch me idly kicking a stone, for example.
To tell you the truth, I believe everything – tigers, trees, stones – are sentient in one way or another. You’d never catch me idly kicking a stone, for example.
And now you’ll be telling stories of my coming back - and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true- but they’ll be real.
And now you’ll be telling stories of my coming back – and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true- but they’ll be real.
For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.
For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.
Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us.
Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us.

16 Wise Mary Oliver Quotes that will Make You Think (WISDOM)

“There is nothing better than work. Work is also play; children know that. 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
This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.
This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.
The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.
The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.
You have to be in the world to understand what the spiritual is about, and you have to be spiritual in order to truly be able to accept what the world is about.
You have to be in the world to understand what the spiritual is about, and you have to be spiritual in order to truly be able to accept what the world is about.
Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.
Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.
It is better for the heart to break, than not to break.
It is better for the heart to break, than not to break.
I have a notion that if you are going to be spiritually curious, you better not get cluttered up with too many material things.
I have a notion that if you are going to be spiritually curious, you better not get cluttered up with too many material things.
You can fool a lot of yourself but you can't fool the soul.
You can fool a lot of yourself but you can’t fool the soul.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing — that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing — that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.
Sometimes breaking the rules is extending the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is extending the rules.
So this is how you swim inward. So this is how you flow outwards. So this is how you pray.
So this is how you swim inward. So this is how you flow outwards. So this is how you pray.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on.
I went to India and was quite taken with it. There's a feeling there that things are holy first and useful second.
I went to India and was quite taken with it. There’s a feeling there that things are holy first and useful second.
Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light.
Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light.
And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money, I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.
And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money, I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.
Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.
Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.

14 Mary Oliver Quotes on Reading and Writing (POETRY)

“I decided very early that I wanted to write. But I didn’t think of it as a career. I didn’t even think of it as a profession… It was the most exciting thing, the most powerful thing, the most wonderful thing to do with my life.”

Mary Oliver
I have a notebook with me all the time, and I begin scribbling a few words. When things are going well, the walk does not get anywhere; I finally just stop and write.
I have a notebook with me all the time, and I begin scribbling a few words. When things are going well, the walk does not get anywhere; I finally just stop and write.
Poetry isn't a profession, it's a way of life. It's an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.
Poetry isn’t a profession, it’s a way of life. It’s an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.
Instead of taking the reader by the hand and running him down the hill, I want to lead him into a house of many rooms, and leave him alone in each of them.
Instead of taking the reader by the hand and running him down the hill, I want to lead him into a house of many rooms, and leave him alone in each of them.
If I've done my work well, I vanish completely from the scene. I believe it is invasive of the work when you know too much about the writer.
If I’ve done my work well, I vanish completely from the scene. I believe it is invasive of the work when you know too much about the writer.
Almost anything is too much. I am trying in my poems to have the reader be the experiencer. I do not want to be there. It is not even a walk we take together.
Almost anything is too much. I am trying in my poems to have the reader be the experiencer. I do not want to be there. It is not even a walk we take together.
Writers sometimes give up what is most strange and wonderful about their writing - soften their roughest edges - to accommodate themselves toward a group response.
Writers sometimes give up what is most strange and wonderful about their writing – soften their roughest edges – to accommodate themselves toward a group response.
I have the feeling that a lot of poets writing now are - they sort of tap dance through it.
I have the feeling that a lot of poets writing now are – they sort of tap dance through it.
I worked privately, and sometimes I feel that might be better for poets than the kind of social workshop gathering. My school was the great poets I read, and I read, and I read.
I worked privately, and sometimes I feel that might be better for poets than the kind of social workshop gathering. My school was the great poets: I read, and I read, and I read.
I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too.
I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too.
I always feel that whatever isn't necessary shouldn't be in a poem.
I always feel that whatever isn’t necessary shouldn’t be in a poem.
I would rather write poems than prose, any day, any place. Yet each has its own force.
I would rather write poems than prose, any day, any place. Yet each has its own force.
I'd rather write about polar bears than people.
I’d rather write about polar bears than people.
I like books that are fat and full.
I like books that are fat and full.

2 Mary Oliver Quotes on Death

What misery to be afraid of death. What wretchedness, to believe only in what can be proven.
What misery to be afraid of death. What wretchedness, to believe only in what can be proven.
I'm going to die one day. I know it's coming for me, too. I'll be a mountain, I'll be a stone on the beach. I'll be nourishment.
I’m going to die one day. I know it’s coming for me, too. I’ll be a mountain, I’ll be a stone on the beach. I’ll be nourishment.

3 Mary Oliver Quotes on Her Family

I grew up in a confused house too much unwanted attention or none at all.
I grew up in a confused house: too much unwanted attention or none at all.
I had a very dysfunctional family, and a very hard childhood. So I made a world out of words. And it was my salvation.
I had a very dysfunctional family, and a very hard childhood. So I made a world out of words. And it was my salvation.
My parents didn't care very much what I did, and that was probably a blessing.
My parents didn’t care very much what I did, and that was probably a blessing.

3 Mary Oliver Quotes on Love

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Also I wanted to be able to love. And we all know how that one goes, don’t we? Slowly.
Also I wanted to be able to love. And we all know how that one goes, don’t we? Slowly.
He is exactly the poem I wanted to write.
He is exactly the poem I wanted to write.

(MUST READ) Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

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