Tag Archives: Mary Oliver

Folks, I’m Telling You

I don’t remember where I got the idea, but recently I’ve started memorizing poems and posting recordings of me reciting them on Instagram. They’ve been mostly short thus far, 10 to 15 lines. But I aim to take on longer ones as I get more under my belt and feel more adventurous.

Part of this is a memory exercise. I haven’t been obligated to memorize something of value since college (sup, Gray’s “Elegy”), and I know it’s good for the brain to do so. But it’s also because quoting poetry or Shakespeare at opportune moments is a cliche from the movies I think we could use more of in real life. And until now the only poem I could recite was “Advice” by Langston Hughes—a whopping 19 words long.

So far I’ve done “Nothing Is Too Small Not to Be Wondered About” by Mary Oliver, “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry, and “Carrying On Like A Crow” by Charles Simic. I found them more or less at random by opening those authors’ poetry collections and paging through until something jumps out. I recommend doing that the next time you’re at the library.

Which reminds me: I gotta find my next poem.

One Wild Life’s Too Short

I have a new piece at ThinkChristian on how a book and an album were telling me the same thing at basically the same time:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  You’ve probably seen this quote, the final couplet in Mary Oliver’s poem The Summer Day, on pictures of sunsets or accompanying “Adventure” boards on Pinterest. I encountered it elsewhere. First, it’s the inspiration for Gungor’s One Wild Life, a trilogy of albums entitled Soul (2015), Spirit (2016) and Body (forthcoming). I had Soul on heavy rotation when on a whim I picked up David Dark’s new book, Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious, simply because of the provocative title. Together, these distinct works of art share more than just the Oliver quote, which Dark also directly references. They preach a similar message in a way that’s accessible to a wide audience of readers and listeners who crave a richer understanding of religion.

Check out the full piece here.