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  • Kathy Shimpock

"When I am Among the Trees" - A poem by Mary Oliver



When I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.


I am so distant from the hope of myself,

in which I have goodness, and discernment,

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, “Stay awhile.”


The light flows from their branches

.And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,

“and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.”


Journal:


The following directions for reflective reading come from the Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina (or holy reading). I find this process equally valuable for uncovering the wisdom of poetry.

  1. Read the poem linked above slowly.

  2. As you do so, look for a word in the poem that stands out to you.

  3. Now, read the poem a second time.

  4. What phrase stands out for you?

  5. What is this poem saying to you today? What message might you take forward?

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