I love choosing a poem to share each month for our “gathering.” I try to read a little poetry every day, although I really don’t do anything every day (except floss my teeth and moisturize) (balance in all things, y’know?). But choosing a poem for this “gathering” is a special motivation for me to keep up with my regular poetry reading. Usually, it’s easy for me to find a poem to share that matches my mood. But there are months where . . . everything feels right or nothing feels quite right at all.

This month, it was the latter. Nothing was exactly hitting the gathering-of-poetry-sweet-spot for me. (It happens.) I think I’m just in a busy-brain phase right now. Even though winter seems to finally be showing up, I’m eager for spring. I have a million ideas percolating. I’ve taken some time out, and now I’m ready to plunge back into things again. But I’m also tired. So the poems I’ve been reading feel . . . all over the place, just like my busy brain. And none were Quite Right for today’s “gathering.”

At times like this, it’s best to turn to Mary Oliver. In Mary’s words, I seem always to find the Just Right poem I need for Right Now. Today, it turns out I need to be . . . among the trees. (And maybe you do, too.)

When I Am Among the Trees
by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willow and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
   but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Be filled with light, my friends. And shine.

This poem was originally published in 2006, but is also included in Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver, published in 2017 by Penguin Press. Information about the poet can be found here.

And I found this . . .  a lovely reading of today’s poem by Amanda Palmer . . .


You can find A Gathering of Poetry every month . . . on the third Thursday.
Share some.
Read some.
Gather up some poetry!

(Bonny is hosting a special link-up for A Gathering of Poetry. Be sure to check it out!)