Today is for putting in the peas.  It’s a St. Patrick’s Day tradition.  Shamrocks, leprechaun hats and green crepe paper remind me to make soda bread and work the ground.

Being in the garden reminds me of Mary Oliver’s poem, Why I Wake Early.  She knows how to pay attention, be idle, stroll through fields, kneel in the grass. She says she doesn’t know exactly what a prayer is.  I think it’s her poetry.


Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who made the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable and the crotchety –

best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever-darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light –

good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.

Oliver writes what she likes to call ‘Praise Poetry’. Her poems comfort and amuse me. She focuses on the good and the hopeful and doesn’t mess around with what makes her unhappy when she’s writing.


She’s used up a lot of pencils.  And experienced crushing loss. But Oliver considers her life an amazing gift. Listen to her poems on The Writers’ Almanac. Garrison Keillor reads them to you while you’re otherwise engaged in buttering toast or shooing squirrels.

They ( the poems, not the toast) have welcome stickiness.  You hear one and a day later it’s still with you, still there in the brainpan, delivering some good thing of use. It’s what a literary critic calls ” a bearshit-on-the-trail” poem~ a true and clear picture of the familiar that starts in the today and ends in the infinite.

I’m going to have a friend in this world as long as Mary Oliver keeps on living her One, Wild and Precious Life.



by Mary Oliver

I wish I was twenty and in love with life
and still full of beans.
Onward, old legs!
There are the long, pale dunes; on the other side
the roses are blooming and finding their labor
no adversity to the spirit.
Upward, old legs! There are the roses, and there is the sea
shining like a song, like a body
I want to touch
though I’m not twenty
and won’t be again but ah! seventy. And still
in love with life. And still
full of beans.


Mary Oliver and Maria Shriver

The full interview is here.  Don’t miss it.


Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

Toni 3/17/13


  1. Very inspiring! I will listen to the whole interview. Right now my life is in survival mode, which means my plan is to get through this rough patch and get back to being in love with life and full of beans. 🙂


  2. Hi,
    Thank you for visiting my blog. I was so touched by Mary Oliver’s poems. The first one reminds me of my mornings. I try to touch on a similar chord every morning, with gratitude and love.
    Have a great day.


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