FOR ALL AGES

100 Best Mary Oliver Quotes From The Famous Poet

The best Mary Oliver quotes came from her poetry.

Mary Oliver was an extraordinary American poet who touched the hearts of millions of readers throughout the world.

Her poetry transcends time and culture. She wrote about a lot of things including nature, life, love, animals, etc.

We've curated a list of the best Mary Oliver poems quotes for you to enjoy. If you want to read more quotes from poets, then check out these quotes from [E E Cummings] and [Rupi Kaur].

Best Mary Oliver Quotes

Here are some of the best quotes from Mary Oliver poetry books.

1. "Knowledge has entertained me and it has shaped me and it has failed me."

- Mary Oliver.

2. "Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us."

- Mary Oliver.

3. "In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed."

- Mary Oliver.

4. "There are things you can’t reach. But you can reach out to them, and all day long."

- Mary Oliver.

5. "Maybe death isn't darkness, after all."

- Mary Oliver.

6. "You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn’t need anymore of that sound."

- Mary Oliver.

7. "Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed."

- Mary Oliver.

8. "It’s not a competition, it’s a doorway."

- Mary Oliver.

9. "And now you’ll be telling stories of my coming back, and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true, but they’ll be real."

- Mary Oliver.

10. "He is exactly the poem I wanted to write."

- Mary Oliver.

11. "Watch, now, how I start the day-in happiness, in kindness."

- Mary Oliver.

12. "Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light."

- Mary Oliver.

13. "Sometimes breaking the rules is extending the rules."

- Mary Oliver.

14. "You have to be spiritual in order to truly be able to accept what the world is about."

- Mary Oliver.

15. "Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on."

- Mary Oliver

16. "I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too."

- Mary Oliver, 'Wild Geese'.

17. "There was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world."

- Mary Oliver

18. "This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness."

- Mary Oliver.

19. "Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping and swell."

- Mary Oliver.

20. "But I also say this: that light is an invitation to happiness, and that happiness, when it’s done right, is a kind of holiness, palpable and redemptive."

- Mary Oliver.

21. "I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed."

- Mary Oliver.

22. "I tell you this to break your heart, by which I mean only that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world."

- Mary Oliver.

23. "You can have the other words-chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it."

- Mary Oliver

24. "To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work."

- Mary Oliver.

25. "Let me keep company always with those who say 'Look!' and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads."

- Mary Oliver.

26. "Maybe our world will grow kinder eventually. ”

- Mary Oliver.

27. "Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing. And gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang."

- Mary Oliver.

28. "And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money, I don’t even want to come in out of the rain."

- Mary Oliver.

29. "Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from one boot to another—why don’t you get going?"

- Mary Oliver.

30. "Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?"

- Mary Oliver.

31. "Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers."

- Mary Oliver.

Mary Oliver Nature Quotes

Mary Oliver was fascinated by the beauty of the natural landscape.

Here are some Mary Oliver quotes from her poems about nature.

32. "For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple."

- Mary Oliver.

33. "I think, in my whole life, I have never missed the full moon."

- Mary Oliver.

34. "I thought the earth remembered me."

- Mary Oliver.

35. "I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing."

- Mary Oliver.

36. "I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing—that the light is everything."

- Mary Oliver.

37. "I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything – other people, trees, clouds."

- Mary Oliver.

38. "I’d rather write about polar bears than people."

- Mary Oliver.

39. "One could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness."

- Mary Oliver.

40. "Snow was falling, so much like stars."

- Mary Oliver.

41. "For how many years have you gone through the house, shutting the windows, while the rain was still five miles away."

- Mary Oliver.

42. "In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall."

- Mary Oliver.

43. "I want to see how many stars are still in the sky. That we have smothered for years now, a century at least."

- Mary Oliver.

44. "All night I heard the small kingdoms breathing around me, the insects, and the birds who do their work in the darkness."

- Mary Oliver.

45. "Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again."

- Mary Oliver.

46. "Animals praise a good day, a good hunt. They praise rain if they’re thirsty. That’s prayer. They don’t live an unconscious life."

- Mary Oliver.

47. "Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going."

- Mary Oliver.

48. "My work is loving the world. Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—equal seekers of sweetness."

- Mary Oliver.

49. "As you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds."

- Mary Oliver.

50. "Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a little sunshine, a little rain."

- Mary Oliver.

Mary Oliver Quotes On Life

Here are some quotes about life from Mary Oliver's poetry. These poet quotes about life and cherishing being where you are will fill you with joy.

51. "I want to believe I am looking into the white fire of a great mystery."

- Mary Oliver.

52. "It is a serious thing, just to be alive on this fresh morning, in this broken world."

- Mary Oliver

53. "I acknowledge my feeling and gratitude for life by praising the world and whoever made all these things."

- Mary Oliver.

54. "So come to the pond, or the river of your imagination, or the harbor of your longing, and put your lips to the world. And live your life."

- Mary Oliver.

55. "Still life has some possibility left."

- Mary Oliver.

56. "Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"

- Mary Oliver.

57. "Instructions for living a life: pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it."

- Mary Oliver.

58. "You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life."

- Mary Oliver, 'Wild Geese'.

59. "We shake with joy, we shake with grief. What a time they have, these two. Housed as they are in the same body."

- Mary Oliver.

60. "Joy is not made to be a crumb."

- Mary Oliver.

61. "We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left."

- Mary Oliver.

62. "There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be."

- Mary Oliver.

63. "Don't hesitate. If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it."

- Mary Oliver.

64. "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

- Mary Oliver.

Mary Oliver Love Quotes

Here are some famous poetry quotes about love from Mary Oliver. In her poems, quotes about love are abundant, so here are some of the most beautiful ones.

65. "From the complications of loving you I think there is no end or return."

- Mary Oliver.

66. "I know many lives worth living."

- Mary Oliver.

67. "You do not have to be good. you do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting."

- Mary Oliver.

68. "I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us."

- Mary Oliver.

69. "You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

- Mary Oliver, 'Wild Geese'.

70. "Also I wanted to be able to love. And we all know how that one goes, don’t we? Slowly."

- Mary Oliver.

71. "It is better for the heart to break, than not to break."

- Mary Oliver.

72. "Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable."

- Mary Oliver.

73. "If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much."

- Mary Oliver, 'Devotions'.

74. "Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift."

- Mary Oliver

75. "There are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But, who wants easier?"

- Mary Oliver.

76. "Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world."

- Mary Oliver.

Mary Oliver Quotes On Aging

Here are some quotes about aging from the best Mary Oliver poems.

77. "What misery to be afraid of death. What wretchedness, to believe only in what can be proven."

- Mary Oliver.

78. "I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world."

- Mary Oliver.

79. "I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument."

- Mary Oliver.

80. "When it is over, I don’t want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real."

- Mary Oliver.

81. "I was the bride-groom, taking the world into my arms."

- Mary Oliver.

82. "When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement."

- Mary Oliver.

83. "I want to be improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings."

- Mary Oliver.

84. "I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome."

- Mary Oliver

85. "The dream of my life is to lie down by a slow river and stare at the light in the trees, to learn something by being nothing.

- Mary Oliver.

86. "To cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world."

- Mary Oliver.

87. "Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled."

- Mary Oliver.

88. "You must be able to do three things, to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go."

- Mary Oliver.

Mary Oliver Dog Quotes

Here are some Mary Oliver quotes about the relationship between people and dogs.

89. "A dog is adorable and noble, a dog is a true and loving friend. A dog is also a hedonist."

- Mary Oliver.

90. "A dog comes to you and lives with you in your own house, but you do not therefore own her, as you do not own the rain, or the trees, or the laws which pertain to them."

- Mary Oliver.

91. "You may not agree, you may not care, but if you are holding this book you should know that of all the sights I love in this world, and there are plenty, very near the top of the list is this one: dogs without leashes."

- Mary Oliver.

92. "We would do anything to keep them with us, and to keep them young. The one gift we cannot give."

- Mary Oliver.

93. "It is almost a failure of will, a failure of love, to let them grow old, or so it feels."

- Mary Oliver.

94. "And it is exceedingly short, his galloping life. Dogs die so soon. I have my stories of that grief, no doubt many of you do also."

- Mary Oliver.

95. "He is sweeter than soap. He is more wonderful than a diamond necklace, which can't even bark."

- Mary Oliver.

96. "I have a little dog who likes to nap with me. He climbs on my body and puts his face in my neck."

- Mary Oliver.

97. "A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing."

- Mary Oliver.

98. "It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born."

- Mary Oliver.

99. "Because of the dog's joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift."

- Mary Oliver.

100. "What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?"

- Mary Oliver.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Mary Oliver quotes then why not take a look at Warsan Shire quotes, or Keats quotes.

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Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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