Mary Oliver Quotes On Love, Life and Nature

Mary Jane Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, She was born on September 10, 1935, and died on January 17, 2019. Her lifelong love of solitary walks in the wild led her to draw inspiration for her work from nature rather than the human world. Her work is characterized by an unadorned language that conveys a sincere wonderment at the impact of natural imagery. She was acknowledged as the country’s best-selling poet in 2007.

71 Mary Oliver Quotes

Mary Oliver Quotes
  1. “Things take the time they take. Don’t worry.”
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2. “Try to find the right place for yourself. If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.”

“Knowledge has entertained me and it has shaped me and it has failed me. Something in me still starves.”

3. “Knowledge has entertained me and it has shaped me and it has failed me. Something in me still starves.”

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4. “If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it.”

mary oliver quotes on life

5. “It is better for the heart to break, than not to break.”

mary oliver quotes on nature

6. “How shall I go on, with my introspective and ambitious life?”

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7. “Invention hovers always a little above the rules.”

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8. “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”

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9. “To understand many things you must reach out of your own condition.”

mary oliver quotes on gratitude

10. “It must be a great disappointment to God if we are not dazzled at least ten times a day.”

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11. “What is your heart doing now? “Remembering. Remembering!”

Mary Oliver Quotes on Life

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12. “Then I remember: death comes before the rolling away of the stone.”

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13. “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

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14. “It is the nature of stone to be satisfied. It is the nature of water to want to be somewhere else.”

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15. “If the world were only pain and logic, who would want it?”

16. “The language of the poem is the language of particulars.”

17. “Now that I’m free to be myself, who am I?”

18. “Sometimes breaking the rules is just extending the rules”

19. “Writing is neither vibrant life nor docile artifact but a text that would put all its money on the hope of suggestion.”

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20. “I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

Mary Oliver Quotes on Nature an Love

21. “I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us.”

22. “In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love, and the ability to ask questions.”

23. “I had believed something probably not true, yet it was wonderful to have believed it.”

24. “I know a lot of fancy words. I tear them from my heart and my tongue. Then I pray.”

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25. “I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”

26. “That time I thought I could not go any closer to grief without dying I went closer, and I did not die.”

27. “Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us.”

28. “Every adjective and adverb is worth five cents. Every verb is worth fifty cents”

29. “I look upon time as no more than an idea, and I consider eternity as another possibility”

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30. “I know many lives worth living.”

Mary Oliver Quotes to Live By

31. “All important ideas must include the trees,the mountains, and the rivers.”

32. “I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life.”

33. “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”

34. “I don’t want to live a small life. Open your eyes … open your life, open your hands.”

Mary Oliver Quotes

35. “Knowledge has entertained me and it has shaped me and it has failed me.”

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

37. “I wanted to live my life but I didn’t want to do what I had to do to go on,”

38. “Love is the one thing the heart craves and love is the one thing you can’t steal.”

39. “Sleep comes its little while. Then I wake in the valley of midnight or three a.m. to the first fragrances of spring which is coming, all by itself, no matter what.”

Mary Oliver Quotes on life

40. “Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.”

Best Mary Oliver Quotes

41. “I read my books with diligence, and mounting skill, and gathering certainty. I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life.”

42. “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

43. “We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.”

44. “I want to sit down on the sand and look around and get dreamy; I want to see what spirits are peeking out of the faces of the roses.”

Mary Oliver Quotes about nature

45. “You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.”

46. “There is only one question; how to love this world.”

47. “creative work requires a loyalty as complete as the loyalty of water to the force of gravity.”

48. “Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers.”

49. “You can fool a lot of yourself but you can’t fool the soul. That worrier.”

famous Mary Oliver Quotes

50. “Imagine lifting the lid from a jar and finding it filled not with darkness but with light.”

Famous Mary Oliver Quotes

51. “In the shapeliness of a life, habit plays its sovereign role.”

52. “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

53. “There is nothing more pathetic than caution when headlong might save a life, even, possibly, your own.”

54. “You too can be carved anew by the details of your devotion.”

Mary Oliver Quotes on education

55. “The different and the novel are sweet, but regularity and repetition are also teachers.”

56. “What is certain in the rational realm is by no means certain in the kingdom of swoon.”

57. “Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.”

58. “So maybe it was the right way after all. If this was lost, let us all be lost always.”

59. “I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too.”

Mary Oliver Quotes on dreams

60. “The world has need of dreamers as well as shoemakers.”

Inspiring Mary Oliver Quotes

61. “Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.”

62. “Their ordinariness makes the world go round.”

63. “Do you think there is anything not attached by its unbreakable cord to everything else?”

64. “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 Quotes on competition

65. “It’s not a competition, it’s a doorway.”

66. “The face of the moose is as sad as the face of Jesus.”

67. “Admiring is easy, but affinity, that does take some time.”

68. “Education as I knew it was made up of such a preestablished collection of certainties. Knowledge has entertained me and it has shaped me and it has failed me. Something in me still starves.”

69. “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.”

70. “The world where the owl is endlessly hungry and endlessly on the hunt is the world in which I live too. There is only one world.”

71. “I have refused to live locked in the orderly house of reasons and proofs.”

A Must Read: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

The late Mary Oliver was a poet who was both incredibly beautiful and approachable. Her keen sense of observation and appreciation for the natural world serve as a constant reminder to be thankful, even during the most challenging stages of the writing process. If you don’t take some time to reflect and go for a walk in the outdoors, your writing will probably lack in depth.

Additional Read: Mary Oliver | Poetry Foundation

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