60 most inspiring Mary Oliver's quotes about love and life

60 most inspiring Mary Oliver's quotes about love and life

Mary Oliver, one of the most renowned American poets of the 20th and 21st centuries, significantly influenced literature with her deep understanding of human life. Her poetry resonates deeply with many readers, offering inspiration, solace, and a renewed appreciation for life's beauty. Explore the most inspiring Mary Oliver's quotes about love and life, touching upon themes of hope, death, devotion, and friendship.

Poet Mary Oliver speaks during California First Lady Maria Shriver's annual Women's Conference in California.
Mary Oliver's quotes about love and life offer inspiration and hope. Photo: Kevork Djansezian on Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: UGC


People are often so preoccupied with their daily lives that they forget to pay close attention to their surroundings. Fortunately, countless Mary Oliver quotes can help you shift your focus to the most important aspects of life.

The most inspiring Mary Oliver quotes

During her lifetime, the poet expressed many unique concepts that inspire people today. Mary Oliver's quotes on love, life, hope, devotion, death, and friendships influence how readers think about these aspects of life.

Famous Mary Oliver's quotes

What is the most famous quote from Mary Oliver? Oliver's beautiful words convey life's beauty and underlying mysteries. Here are some of the most famous Mary Oliver quotes.

Read also

The most famous John Brown quotes on history, slavery, and freedom

  • To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal, to hold it against your bones, knowing your own life depends on it, and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
  • If I have any lasting worth, it will be because I have tried to make people remember what the Earth is meant to look like.
  • I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
  • It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.
  • Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.
  • You can have the other words: chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it.
  • Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
  • The woods that I loved as a child are entirely gone. The woods that I loved as a young adult are gone. The woods that most recently I walked in are not gone, but they’re full of bicycle trails.
  • There is nothing better than work. Work is also play; children know that. Children play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them. It’s duty.

Read also

50 best Ron Swanson quotes that will inspire and make you laugh

Mary Oliver's quotes about life

Mary Oliver was incredibly able to capture life's essence in her poems. Here are profound quotes from her that offer insights into life's complexity, beauty, and wonder.

Mary olive quotes about life
Mary Oliver's quotes about life offer insights into significant aspects of life. Photo: pexels.com, @nout-gons (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way, too.
  • Every morning, I walk like this around the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart ever close, I am as good as dead.
  • I know many lives worth living.
  • 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.
  • I tell you this to break your heart, by which I mean only that it breaks open and never closes again to the rest of the world.
  • So this is how you swim inward. So this is how you flow outwards. So this is how you pray.
  • Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.
  • We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.
  • Do you love this world? Do you cherish your humble and silky life? Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
  • Sometimes, I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.

Read also

35 inspiring Joker quotes that will make you think deep

Mary Oliver's quotes about love

Words evoke emotions and prompt reflection. Here are Mary Oliver's friendship quotes, each with a distinct take on love and relationships.

Mary Oliver quotes about love
Mary Oliver's quotes about love evoke emotions. Photo: pexels.com, @asad-photo-maldives (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • It is almost a failure of will, a failure of love, to let them grow old, or so it feels.
  • Love, love, love, says Percy. And hurry as fast as you can along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust. Then, go to sleep. Give up your body heat, your beating heart. Then, trust.
  • I have my stories of that grief. No doubt, many of you do also. It is almost a failure of will, a failure of love, to let them grow old—or so it feels. We would do anything to keep them with us and to keep them young.
  • There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled. Like telling someone, you love them. Or giving your money away, all of it. Your heart is beating, isn't it? You're not in chains, are you?
  • So, be slow if you must, but let the heart still play its true part. Love still as once you loved, deeply and without patience.
  • Look, I want to love this world as though it’s the last chance I’m ever going to get to be alive and know it.
  • Also, I wanted to be able to love. And we all know how that one goes, don't we? Slowly.
  • More room in your heart for love, for the trees! For the birds who own nothing – the reason they can fly.
  • Oh, to love what is lovely and will not last! What a task to ask of anything or anyone, yet it is ours, and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
  • You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
  • From the complications of loving you, I think there is no end or return. No answer, no coming out of it. Which is the only way to love, isn’t it?
  • You may not agree, you may not care, but if you are holding this book, you should know that of all the sights I love in this world—and there are plenty—very near the top of the list is this one: dogs without leashes.

Read also

25 best Adventure Time quotes: Insightful and relatable quotes from the cartoon show

Mary Oliver's quotes on death

Death, an inevitable part of life, is a topic that often invokes deep reflection and contemplation. The poet has offered compelling quotes on death, inviting everyone to ponder the nature of mortality and find comfort amid life's impermanence.

Mary Oliver quotes on death
Mary Oliver's quotes on death offer comfort to a grieving heart. Photo: pexels.com, @george-becker (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it.., And hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.
  • The most regretful people on Earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising and gave to it neither power nor time.
  • What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
  • Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
  • Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.
  • The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.

Read also

20+ The best Princess Bride quotes of all time ranked: Comprehensive list

Mary Oliver's quotes on hope

In times of uncertainty, people typically turn to literature for comfort and inspiration. Here are Mary Oliver's quotes that serve as reminders of the enduring light of hope.

Mary Oliver quotes on hope
Mary Oliver's quotes serve as a beacon of hope. Photo: pexels.com, @aaron-burden (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Happiness isn’t a town on a map, or an early arrival, or a job well done, but good work ongoing.
  • Ten times a day something happens to me like this—some strengthening throb of amazement, some good, sweet, empathic ping and swell.
  • Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us.
  • A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world and the responsibilities of your life.
  • Whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Mary Oliver's devotion quotes

Among Oliver's poems are poignant reflections that explore the theme of devotion–to the natural world, love, and life itself. Here are Mary Oliver's most compelling quotes on devotion, each inspiring readers to embrace gratitude and reverence.

Read also

17 songs about escaping and breaking free from the world: Curated playlist

Mary Oliver's devotion quotes
Mary Oliver's quotes on devotion inspire people to embrace gratitude. Photo: pexels.com, @jill-wellington (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Attention is the beginning of devotion.
  • You, too, can be carved anew by the details of your devotion.
  • Sometimes, I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.
  • Listen—are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
  • I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable, beautiful, and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.
  • 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 a little while but the rich lens of attention.
  • My work is loving the world. Here, the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—equal seekers of sweetness.

What is Mary Oliver's most famous poem?

Mary Oliver's most famous poem is arguably The Summer Day. This remarkable poem captures Oliver's signature style of observing nature and reflecting on life's deeper meanings. In The Summer Day, the poet contemplates the significance of existence and one's purpose.

Read also

50+ quotes from Romeo and Juliet that still make sense in the current times

What makes Mary Oliver unique?

Mary Oliver's uniqueness stems from her ability to infuse the ordinary into the extraordinary and discover beauty and purpose in the most mundane circumstances. Her keen observation of nature and profound insights into the human condition distinguishes her as a poet of exceptional depth and sensitivity.

Mary Oliver's quotes inspire and encourage many people, offering a guiding light through life's complexities. As you reflect on her profound insights, you may find inspiration, solace, and a fresh sense of wonder about the beauty of life.

Yen.com.gh recently published an article on powerful consistency quotes to motivate and instil persistence. Although consistency is the key to success in every endeavour, staying consistent can be challenging.

Discover insightful "consistency is key" quotes, inspiring consistency quotes, and power of consistency quotes. These quotes will inspire and motivate you on your journey of persistence.

Source: YEN.com.gh

Online view pixel