Mary Oliver’s Instructions

Mary Oliver writes, 

Instructions for living a life.

First, pay attention

oh how I try

each day to pay attention

to listen for even the least

to see beyond the words

to peer into the deep.

Oh, God how I try,

yet my human frailty

like Peter, James and John

fail me when I need it most.

Oh, I am astonished

astonished flowers bloom

after burial under snow

astonished by new birth

by the sounds of the birds

the rising of the sun

blood red in the eastern sky

the daily turning of life

the love I receive

even when I’m not lovable.

Yes, I’m astonished

that my life is so full

of that which God provides.

Oh how I want to tell

to shout out to all

about this amazing world

the music in the air

the brightness of love

the color of the forest

as the leaves once green

turn into a blaze of reds

setting the world on fire

the fire of the Spirit

that baptizes us with 

the water of God’s tears

weeping for humanity’s folly

hanging from the cross.

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