The Day Mary Oliver Died – a poem by Marilyn Grant

The Day Mary Oliver Died
(in some of her own words)

I want to believe the day you died,
you lay down in a field of lilies and
let bliss have its way with you.
One by one they came to comfort you,
the fox, the owl, the hawk, the deer
that you communed with at dawn,
the wild geese guiding you home,
the goldenrod, the lilies, the peonies nodding
you off with their light-filled bodies.
I like to think you died of an overdose of bliss.
Your tombstone would say, here lies a poet,
killed by delight, a bride married to amazement.
You who loved the world so much, I
want to believe you are still alive in another,
in the body of a rose or a tree or a fox.
Is it true that when Mr. Death, that imposter
came for you, you were nowhere to be found
because you were everything everywhere?

Oh, it’s not true that you are not needed.
More than ever we need you to remind us
to trust the dazzling untrimmable light
outshining the dark stories of our lives,
to call us to be astonished by this
one wild and precious life, and in the end
be brave enough to give up the world.


Marilyn Grant has taught writing at Cerritos College and journal writing to Hospice nurses.  She belongs to a weekly Sangha with like-minded spiritual seekers, which is the inspiration for much of her poetry.  Her poems have appeared in Amethyst Review and Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poetry.


  1. Marian Christie says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Mary Oliver.


    1. Sarah says:

      I agree Marian.


  2. “brave enough to give up the world.” Beautifully said, Marilyn! May Mary Oliver’s memory continue to be a blessing for you and all of us.


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