Invito, Mary Oliver

Oh, hai tempo
per indugiare
solo per un po’
fuori dal tuo impegnato

e molto importante giorno
per i cardellini
che si sono radunati
in un campo di cardi

per una sfida musicale,
per vedere chi può cantare
la nota più alta,
o la più bassa,

o l’allegria più espressiva,
o la più tenera?
I loro forti, smussati becchi
bevono l’aria

mentre si sforzano
non per il tuo bene
e non per il mio

e non per vincere
ma per pura gioia e gratitudine –
credeteci, dicono,
è una cosa seria

essere vivi
in questa fresca mattina
nel mondo lacerato.
Ti prego,

non passare
senza fermarti
per assistere a questa
performance piuttosto ridicola.

Potrebbe significare qualcosa.
Potrebbe significare tutto.
Potrebbe essere quello che intendeva Rilke, quando scriveva:
Devi cambiare la tua vita.


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.

Mary Oliver, “Invitation,” A Thousand Mornings (New York: Penguin Books, 2013)


David Garrett spielt den 1. Satz: “Allegro moderato” aus dem Violinkonzert Op.35/D Major von Peter Tschaikowski – Conductor: Riccardo Chailly, Filarmonica Della ScalaGeorge Enescu Festival Bukarest 2017

Messenger, from “Thirst” (2005), Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.


River Flows In You: Lindsey Stirling and Debi Johanson

The Sweetness of Dogs, from “Dog Songs” (2013), Mary Oliver

What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise. It’s full tonight.
So we go

and the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, makes me take
measure of myself: one iota
pondering heaven. Thus we sit, myself

thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s
perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up
into my face. As though I were just as wonderful
as the perfect moon.


Moonlight Sonata arranged and performed by Marcin (from the 1st and 3rd movements)

A Pretty Song, da “Thirst” (2005), Mary Oliver

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?

This isn’t a play ground, this is
earth, our heaven, for a while.
Therefore I have given precedence
to all my sudden, sullen, dark moods

that hold you in the center of my world.
And I say to my body: grow thinner still.
And I say to my fingers, type me a pretty song.
And I say to my heart: rave on.


David Garrett, Gábor Takács-Nagy and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra perform Beethoven, Violin Concerto Op 61

Attenta, da “Why I Wake Early” (2005), Mary Oliver

Ogni giorno
vedo o ascolto
che più o meno

mi uccide
di gioia,
che mi lascia
come un ago

nel pagliaio
della luce.
Era ciò per cui sono nata —
guardare, ascoltare,

in questo mondo morbido –
per istruirmi

nella gioia
e nell’acclamazione.
Né sto parlando

lo spaventoso, il terribile,
il molto stravagante –
ma dell’ordinario,
del comune, del monotono,

le rappresentazioni quotidiane.
Oh, brava studiosa,
io mi dico,
come puoi fare a meno

di diventare saggia
con insegnamenti
come questi:
la luce non regolabile

del mondo,
la lucentezza dell’oceano,
le preghiere che sono
fatte di erba?


I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for —
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world —
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant —
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these —
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?


Ray Chen plays Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Kent Nagano (Live concert on 28th February, 2015)

Morning Poem, from “Dream Work” (1986), Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches—
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead—
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging—

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted—

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.


David Garrett – Violine & Julien Quentin – Klavier
W.A. Mozart, Sonate für Klavier und Violine Nr. 18 G-Dur KV 301 (293a) Teil 1 Allegro con spirito – Düsseldorf 30 Apr 2010

Alcune domande che potresti fare, da “Blue Iris – Poems and Essays” (2004), Mary Oliver

È solida l’anima, come il ferro?
O è tenera e fragile, come
le ali della falena nel becco del gufo?
Chi ce l’ha, e chi no?
Continuo a guardarmi intorno.
Il viso dell’alce è triste
come il volto di Gesù.
Il cigno spalanca le sue bianche ali con lentezza.
D’autunno, l’orso nero smuove le foglie nel buio.
Una domanda porta ad un’altra.
Ha una forma? Come un iceberg?
Come l’occhio di un colibrì?
Ha un polmone, come il serpente e la capasanta?
Perché dovrei averla io, e non il formichiere
che ama i suoi figli?
Perché dovrei averla io, e non il cammello?
Pensandoci bene, e gli aceri?
E gli iris blu?
E le piccole pietre, che siedono sole al chiaro di luna?
E le rose, e i limoni, e le loro foglie lucenti?
E l’erba?

Some Questions You Might Ask

Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?


Earth Song (Michael Jackson) – The Vienna Symphonic Orchestra

Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me, from “What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems” (2003), Mary Oliver

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,

what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again

in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,

smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches

and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing

under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment

my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars

and the soft rain—
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.


Valentina Babor – When the rain begins to fall 2015
Original von Jermaine Jackson und Pia Zadora 1984

The Sun, Mary Oliver

Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon

and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again

out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower

streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure

that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you

as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world–

or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things?

Rose, Mary Oliver

Tutti di tanto in tanto si interrogano su
quelle domande che non hanno delle risposte
pronte: la Causa Prima, l’esistenza di Dio,
cosa succede quando il sipario
cala e nulla lo ferma, non baciando,
non andando al centro commerciale, non al Super Bowl.

“Rose selvatiche,” dissi loro una mattina.
“Avete le risposte? E se le aveste,
vorreste dirmele?”

Le rose risero dolcemente “Perdonaci,”
dissero. “Ma come puoi vedere, al momento siamo
completamente occupate ad essere rose”.


Everyone now and again wonders about
those questions that have no ready
answers: first cause, God’s existence,
what happens when the curtain goes
down and nothing stops it, not kissing,
not going to the mall, not the Super

“Wild roses,” I said to them one morning.
“Do you have the answers? And if you do,
would you tell me?”

The roses laughed softly. “Forgive us,”
they said. “But as you can see, we are
just now entirely busy being roses.”

From Felicity – New York, Penguin, 2016