In her 79th year, poet Mary Oliver is still in love with life and still full of beans. It seems she and I are walking the same shore.


I recently discovered that Oliver left Provincetown and moved to Hobe Sound, a few miles south of me, to be near friends.

I go down to the shore in the morning

and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.

I look to her for a celebration of the little things in nature. And the big things.


Ocean     (by Mary Oliver)

I am in love with the Ocean

Lifting her thousands of white hats

In the chop of the storm,

Or lying smooth and blue, the

Loveliest bed in the world.

In the personal life, there is

Always grief more than enough,

A heart-load for each one of us

On the dusty road. I suppose

There is a reason for this, so I will be

Patient, acquiescent. But I will live

Nowhere except here, by Ocean, trusting

Equally in all the blast and welcome

Of her sorrowless, salt self.

Mary and Molly 1

Molly Malone Cook, Oliver’s partner for over forty years, died of cancer in 2005.  In 2012, Oliver faced her own battle.


In Blue Horses, she writes with grace and gravity from her “platform of many years” and her recent triumph over cancer.

Oliver’s perception is acute.  She points out the wild and the quiet, what we all might see if we take the time and have the patience to truly look.

I wonder if we are both looking at the same double rainbow over our shared sea. If I meet her (some end-of-the-rainbow jackpot that would be) at the café in town or on a meander under the twisty-knotted banyan trees, I’ll say, Have you noticed this wonderful thing? 


It seems there’s always a message in her words just for me. But mostly, there’s just beauty.

Toni 2/24/15


    1. If that ever happens, I’ll be over the moon. She’s said in her (very few) interviews that she’s more likely to chat with the local plumber than someone she runs into or calls and says they’re in town for a day or two. Maybe I should get a plumbing license. 🙂


  1. Thank you for posting this. I love her poetry too and to hear her read out her poem from Blue Horses has got my day off to a wonderful start. The one about the ocean makes me want to move to be near the sea right away.


Plz leave a comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s