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5 Mary Oliver Poems To Read This Spring

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

My favorite thing about spring is seeing everything bloom. There’s an undeniable joy in watching everything come back to life. If there’s anyone who can perfectly capture this change and the beauty of the natural world, it’s Mary Oliver.

Oliver’s poetry collections are perfect for morning reads or to take with you on a hike. Her prose, which focuses on nature, could make anyone want to go outside and experience the outdoors.

That being said, here are five poems that you should read to get you in the mood for spring. I recommend reading them with a cup of tea or under a tree for best results.

1. “Spring”

From her collection Owls and Other Fantasies, “Spring” captures the beauty of the end of winter. My favorite line, “Around their wreath of darkness the leaves of the world unfurl,” ends the poem on such a hopeful note that signals the beginning of spring. This poem is perfect to read now as winter marks slip away. For best results, read this one after a good long walk!

2. “North Country”

Mary Oliver’s gift for imagery in her prose has always been one-of-a-kind, but I think it really shines in “North Country.” Spring is framed as a new beginning, “You listen and you know you could live a better life than you do, be softer, kinder. And maybe this year you will be able to do it.” She captures the intrinsic connection between humans and nature flawlessly. I recommend reading this poem in the morning to secure a good start to the day!

3. “Wild Geese”

This poem can be read any time of year; it’s one of my all-time favorite poems by her. It’s particularly impactful during springtime. “Wild Geese” reminds you how small your problems are compared to the grand scheme of things. The poem feels soft and personal in the best way possible as if Oliver is reaching out to you specifically. “Wild Geese” can be read anywhere and anytime; it will always be impactful.

4. “Invitation”

It’s so easy to get caught up in urgent things like schoolwork and errands, which is why I really love “Invitation.” It invites you to take a step back and walk a little slower to class so you can look around. This is one of her more famous poems, and it’s well-known for a reason — it’s so beautiful! Her advice is timeless: “Do not walk by without pausing to attend to this rather ridiculous performance.”

5. “From The Book of Time”

From her collection The Leaf and The Cloud, this poem captures humans’ connection with nature so well. The speaker, once she remembers it’s spring, steps out into the outdoors to view the charm of her world. The poem in itself feels like a beginning and is perfect to read during spring. I would recommend reading “From The Book of Time” in the morning right before you leave — it’ll leave you light-hearted!

It was hard to narrow this list down to only five poems, if you’re interested in reading more of Oliver’s work, many of her poetry collections are available online! If you’ve never read Mary Oliver’s poetry, spring is the best time to begin. Her poems are bound to speak to you, especially if you’re an outdoorsy girl!

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Glorimar Pagan is a Freshman at Florida State University majoring in Creative Writing. She is a staff writer at the Her Campus FSU chapter where she enjoys writing about pop culture, campus news, and books. She can usually be found reading outdoors, playing the guitar, or daydreaming about her mom's Puerto Rican cooking.