Review: 'Blue Horses' by Mary Oliver

I truly love the late Mary Oliver's poetry. Most recently, I finished her Blue Horses collection. She had such a sincere love for nature and all that it contains. Oliver had the most brilliant way of getting you to notice those things in nature that you would might not otherwise give a second glance. She was able to connect the most basic elements of life with an element in nature in a way that perfectly described it, offering a refreshing new way to look at life and all that surrounds us. 

Take for instance her poem, "Little Crazy Love Song." Instead of describing love in the usual manner, hearts aflutter in a sing-song melody, she reached for what she loved outside her window and brought it close to her feelings:

...The dull hangover of waiting,

the blush of my heart on the damp grass,

the flower-faced moon.

 A gull broods on the shore

 where a moment ago there were two.

Softly my right hand fondles my left hand

as though it were you.


Or perhaps her take on loneliness in her poem "Loneliness," and the great comfort she gained from the earth:

I too have known loneliness.

I too have known what it is to feel 


      rejected, and suddenly

not at all beautiful.

Oh, mother earth,

      your comfort is great, your arms never withhold.

It has saved my life to know this.

Your rivers flowing, your roses opening in the morning.

Oh, motions of tenderness!


Even something as pedestrian as the lawn is seen through Oliver's keen eye in her poem, "On Not Mowing the Lawn":

Let the grass spring up tall, let its roots sing

       and the seeds begin their scattering.

Let the weeds rejoin and be prolific throughout.

Let the noise of the mower be banished, hurrah!

Let the path become where I choose to walk, and not 

       otherwise established....

I love how Oliver's inspiration was the world around her. She was so good at describing what she encountered and how it inspired her. From her dogs to the birds flying overhead, she saw so much more than most of us. With every work of hers that I finished, I found myself looking deeper into what is outside my window and was reminded to see not just the physical beauty, but the beauty within the individual characteristics of the elements in nature. Oliver was truly a teacher in the way she conveyed her love for the material world.

If you're looking for something new to read that will lift your spirits, give you new persective on the every day, or simply give you an appreciation for great poetry, find any of Mary Oliver's works. My personal favorite collection is Dog Songs: 35 Dog Songs and One Essay

You can also read more Anythink staff blog posts celebrating Oliver's poems, including "The Wren" and "Wild Geese."