Happy Third Thursday….aka Gathering of Poetry Day!
In my search for a poem to share with you all, I read a lot of poetry. But one poem has stuck with me and I have thought about it every single day since I read it. It is a poem by Mary Oliver, who seems to have a poem for every occasion. I think Invitation is the perfect spring poem.
by Mary Oliver
Oh do you have time
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.
Mary Oliver, “Invitation,” A Thousand Mornings: Poems from New York: Penguin Books, 2013.
While I don’t have the Goldfinches Mary describes, I do have some very loud Song Sparrow’s, who absolutely encourage me to linger on my morning walks with Sherman in the very best way with their raucous singing! I hope this poem provides you some encouragement to linger over something ridiculously delightful in your day!
Need more poetry today? Be sure to stop and see what Bonny and Kym have gathered today!
Mary Oliver . . . always perfect! I can’t wait til the goldfinches return to my garden. They always remind me of this poem, and Mary’s invitation.
I always think that Mary Oliver and spring go together perfectly, but really Mary Oliver has a poem for every part of life. Looking for the ridiculously delightful is one of my favorite things in a day and I thank you for sharing this poem, Kat!
Just simply so lovely. Thank you! My day is very busy today, but I will keep my eyes open and (once I am home) will listen to the bird song. Love Mary Oliver!!!
Goldfinches are also rare in my neighborhood, but this morning on my run I nearly stopped to listen to some very noisy cardinals. Hearing birdsong when I’m outside is such a good omen at this time of year!
I’ve never read a Mary Oliver poem that I didn’t love. And I can’t wait for my goldfinches to come back!
I heard some bird son today while snow fell. The sparrows were indeed singing for joy. Mary Oliver reminds us to do no less. Thank you. Like Carole, I don’t think I’ve ever read a Mary Oliver poem that I haven’t enjoyed.
I could read her daily for the rest of my life. What a timeless poem!
This makes me so happy on this rainy morning! Just Wednesday afternoon I walked the ‘off-season’ grounds at Chautauqua Institution, alone, along the lake. (A nice short field trip from the shores of Presque Isle if you want one! A fabulous bookstore there…no gate fee…quiet, a delight for the senses, those grounds…) Anyway, I stopped to listen to the red-winged blackbirds. And then–just the QUIET. It was the most quiet I’ve felt in so long.
The timing of your poem…mmm….Yes.
Lovely poem. Thanks for sharing.