Thursday, December 21, 2023

A Gathering of Poetry: December 2023


It's the third Thursday of the month so I'd like to welcome you to A Gathering of Poetry. My SiL sent me the above photo and I thought it was so lovely that I was compelled to find a poem that went with it. As is so often the case, Mary Oliver had written the perfect one. 

The Place I Want to Get Back To
by Mary Oliver

The place I want to get back to
is where
in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness
and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me
they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let’s see who she is
and why she is sitting
on the ground like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;
and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way
I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of the flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward
and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years 
I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts, bestowed,
can’t be repeated.
If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named


Oliver, Mary. "The Place I Want to Get Back To." Thirst, Beacon Press, 2007.

You can read more about the poet here


Thanks for reading and joining us for our monthly Gathering of Poetry. You are more than welcome to add your link below if you would like to share one of your favorite poems. The more the merrier!

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  1. That poem goes perfectly with your photo AND it also feels wonderful for the longest day of the year. Happy Solstice, Bonny!

  2. What a beautiful poem to match a gorgeous photo. Lovely.

  3. I love pinewoods. We have a spot on one of our wetland trails that takes us through a section of pine that is one of my favorite places on earth. The carpet of needles, the sprinkling of pine cones and the overall quiet of the place is so appealing to me. It feels like a holy place.

    1. That is such a lovely description of a special place!

  4. That is the perfect poem for that beautiful photo! And I agree with Carole... the longest night opens the door for the light to return! It makes me happy that the animals must like that too! Happy Solstice!

  5. A magical photo and a magical poem, what a gift first thing this morning! The house I grew up in had pines at the back of the lot, and my daddy cut the lowest branches on the back side of one and put a child's table and chairs under it for my special hideout. It was a perfect place, all mine, hidden with a soft bed of pine needles to play in and dream. Thank you, Bonny, for a post that evokes memories of love, security, and innocence.

  6. The photo is stunning and you found the perfect poem to pair with it! Every time I read a Mary Oliver poem, I feel bad that I didn't discover her until after she had died -- but I am so thankful that she left behind so much for us to enjoy.

  7. A beautiful lesson in just letting things BE for a little while.

  8. Mary Oliver truly does have a poem for EVERYthing! this one is perfect not only for that photo, but also for today.

  9. There is no poet quite like Mary Oliver. It pairs perfectly with your photo. Thank you for posting both.

  10. Such a beautiful MO poem to go with that beautiful photo! Perfection. (And Thirst is my favorite MO collection.)


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