waking up to poetry

Morning Poem


Every morning

the world

is created.

Under the orange


sticks of the sun

the heaped

ashes of the night

turn into leaves again


and fasten themselves to the high branches —

and the ponds appear

like black cloth

on which are painted islands


of summer lilies.

If it is your nature

to be happy

you will swim away along the soft trails


for hours, your imagination

alighting everywhere.

And if your spirit

carries within it


the thorn

that is heavier than lead —

if it’s all you can do

to keep on trudging —


there is still

somewhere deep within you

a beast shouting that the earth

is exactly what it wanted —


each pond with its blazing lilies

is a prayer heard and answered

lavishly,

every morning,


whether or not

you have ever dared to be happy,

whether or not

you have ever dared to pray.



from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver

© Mary Oliver

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