Morning Light

Every morning
 the good news
   through the field

 every blossom
  every stem
   and each of them,

on the instant
 offers to be part of it—
  offers to lift and hold, willingly
   the vast burden of light

all day.
 In my life
  I have never seen it to fail—
   flower after flower

leaf after pearly leaf,
 to the acre,
  to the massy many,
   is silvered, is flooded;

and such voices
 spangle among it—
  larks and sparrows—
   all those small souls—

are everywhere
 tossing the quick wheels of pleasure
  from their red throats
   as they hang on—

as though on little masts
 of golden ships,
  to the tops of the weeds—
   and that’s when I come—

that’s when I come, crying out to the world:
 oh give me a corner of it
  to lift also, to sing about, to touch
   with my wild hands—and they do.

Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019) received numerous awards over the course of her career. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She also received the Shelley Memorial Award; a Guggenheim Fellowship; an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Achievement Award; the Christopher Award and the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award for House of Light; the National Book Award for New and Selected Poems; a Lannan Foundation Literary Award; and the New England Booksellers Association Award for Literary Excellence. Oliver’s essays have appeared in Best American Essays 1996, 1998, 2001; the Anchor Essay Annual 1998, as well as Orion, Onearth and other periodicals. Oliver was editor of Best American Essays 2009. She was awarded Honorary Doctorates from The Art Institute of Boston (1998), Dartmouth College (2007) and Tufts University (2008).