Opening Devotions, Mary Oliver’s five-decade-spanning anthology of poems, we found this gem, that sets the tone for a new week.

I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for —
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world —
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant —
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these —
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?


She couldn’t have said it better…

I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight


We think of the ordinary wonders that have knocked us out…


Forest bath at the Central Park Pinetum / Ralph Ueltzhoeffer

Squashed flat can / Sally Schneider

Isabel Croft Jumping Rope / Arlene Gottried, Courtesy of Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York

Entwined carrots / Maria Robledo

Tree growing through rock / Fast Forward

Manar Moursi

Sally Schneider



What unexpected marvels will this day bring?



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2 replies on “Teachings of the Ordinary, the Common, the Very Drab (Mary Oliver)

  1. “What unexpected marvels will this day bring?”

    …..speaking for myself,
    I really enjoyed your fotographs.(!)
    beautiful article…

  2. Thanks Gallagher. I’m not sure which of those images I love most. Maybe that perfectly squashed can with straw intact (:

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