Attention is the Beginning of Devotion (Mary Oliver Quote)

Attention is the Beginning of Devotion (Mary Oliver Quote)

Teach Your children well (Mary Oliver Quote)

“Teach the children. We don’t matter so much, but the children do. Show them daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. The lives of the blue sailors, mallow, sunbursts, the moccasin-flowers. And the frisky ones–inkberry, lamb’s-quarters, blueberries. And the aromatic ones–rosemary, oregano. Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of the world salvaged from the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms. Attention is the beginning of devotion.”

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. Gillian Smith 6 years ago

    Oh wow Polly. This morning on BBC Radio there was a Thought for the Day given which included a quote from Mary Oliver. I had not heard of her …. but the message was all about paying attention to NOW and the beauty it encapsulates.
    So a few hours later I open your Blog and find this!
    Thank you so much….. and with love.

  2. jeanne baumgartner 5 years ago

    I’m the mom of three grown sons: Matt, 44, Zach, 41, and Josh, 38. I send them “mom’s thought for the day” notes now and then. Just sent the “attention is the beginning of devotion”. I told them that even at their advanced ages, it’s still my duty to guide them. I’m happy to have been able to send this idea to them today. Thank you for sharing with me. Jeanne Baumgartner Lenexa, Kansas

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