Mary Oliver: Devotions (2020, Penguin Books) No rating

Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, …

I Don't Want to Be Demure or Respectable by Mary Oliver

I don't want to be demure or respectable. I was that way, asleep, for years. That way, you forget too many important things. How the little stones, even if you can't hear them, are singing. How the river can't wait to get to the ocean and the sky, it's been there before. What traveling is that! It is a joy to imagine such distances. I could skip sleep for the next hundred years. There is a fire in the lashes of my eyes. It doesn't matter where I am, it could be a small room. The glimmer of gold Böhme saw on the kitchen pot was missed by everyone else in the house.

Maybe the fire in my lashes is a reflection of that. Why do I have so many thoughts, they are driving me crazy. Why am I always going anywhere, instead of somewhere? Listen to me or not, it hardly matters. I'm not trying to be wise, that would be foolish. I'm just chattering.

Devotions by  (Page 18)


she says tanya you hold my work bag
chaniqua come over here girl i want you to hold my
josie could you hold my grocery bag
kebé take my purse
she starts bobbin her head, jackin her arms
tryin to catch the rhythm of the ropes
and when she jumps inside those turning loops
what the young girls say
what the young girls say

from "Jump Mama" by Kurtis Lamkin