Poem by Mary Oliver: Invitation

Poem by Mary Oliver: Invitation

Mary Oliver Poem Invitation


Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.


by Mary Oliver


I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Liz 7 years ago

    Oh I love this! Yes!!

  2. Nina Naomi 4 years ago

    Hi Polly. Found this today because I am working on a blog post quoting Mary Oliver. My blog is in memory of my mother Nina Naomi, called “Diary of a Mindful Nature Lover.” I like what you’re doing! Thank you. Nina

    • Author
      Polly Castor 4 years ago

      Feel free to subscribe and get me everyday.

  3. Isabel 4 years ago

    Which one of her books was this poem published in?


  1. […] What a thing it is “to be alive / on this fresh morning / in the broken world.” […]

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