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Category: Mary Oliver Poems

Letter to ___________.

[ 0 ] June 9, 2009

This is definitely my favorite poem from Mary Oliver’s book Thirst. The lies we tell to those that have hurt us, just to show them, that they can’t hurt us.

Letter to ___________.

You have broken my heart.
Just as well. Now
I am learning to rise
above all that, learning

the thin life, waking up
simply to praise
everything in this world that is
strong and beautiful

always – the trees, the rocks,
the fields, the news
from heaven, the laughter
that comes back

all the same. Just as well. Time
to read books, rake the lawn
in peace, sweep the floor, scour
the faces of the pans,

anything. And I have been so
diligent it is almost
over, I am growing myself
as strong as rock, as a tree

which, if I put my arms around it, does not
lean away. It is a
wonderful life. Comfortable.
I read the papers. Maybe

I will go on a cruise, maybe I will
cross the entire ocean, more than once.
Whatever you think, I have scarcely
thought of you. Whatever you imagine,

it never really happened. Only a few
evenings of nonsense. Whatever you believe –
dear one, dear one –
do not believe this letter.

by Mary Oliver

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