A Tuesday Poem | For the Early Risers

It’s been a while since I shared a poem, but here I am. Remember when I complained about my current Mary Oliver collection? I said that I’d already read many of the collections these poems were pulled from and that I was trying to remind myself that rereading poetry is encouraged. Well – lesson learned. I came across this poem again — and again, it was heart stopping. I proceeded to reread it multiple times and simply must share it with you. Again. (!)

Softest of Mornings

Softest of mornings, hello.
And what will you do today, I wonder,
to my heart?
And how much honey can the heart stand, I wonder,
before it must break?  

This is trivial, or nothing: a snail
climbing a trellis of leaves
and the blue trumpets of its flowers.  

No doubt clocks are ticking loudly
all over the world.
I don’t hear them. The snail’s pale horns
extend and wave this way and that
as her finger-body shuffles forward, leaving behind
the silvery path of her slime.  

Oh, softest of mornings, how shall I break this?
How shall I move away from the snail, and the flowers?
How shall I go on, with my introspective and ambitious life?

Long Life, Mary Oliver


Snails, in general, have been a great interest for me after reading The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. Mary’s careful observation of the snail climbing the flowers makes me smile and takes me back to that book.

I feel a tremendous connection with Oliver’s devotion to the early morning hours. Long Life is full of the benefits of rising early to ensure the time to connect to the world around her. And of course, she has an entire collection called Why I Wake Early. Learning to wake early has, without a doubt, changed my life and I find great satisfaction when reading about others who do the same!


I know – Tuesday was a weird day to hear from me this week. But this opportunity arose and now I’m back in my burrow, surrounded by books, fabric, cats, and my computer. I hope to see you again on Friday!

11 thoughts on “A Tuesday Poem | For the Early Risers

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  1. That poem is beautiful and one that I love too! Early morning riser here. I get up every day at 4:00 am, including weekends unless I’m under the weather. For me, early mornings allows me to do so many things before my work day starts and seeing the sun rise is the best part of the day. Have a great week!

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  2. Sometimes, when inspiration strikes, schedules must be rearranged. This happened to me recently when a short story, nearly fully formed, just came to me. Had to set aside my novel to write it. Anyway, as always, Mary Oliver gets to the essence of things. What a gift she had! Take care and stay cozy.

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  3. Its too long since I read poetry, so thank you for this one.
    I am no early riser, although I am often awake at 4am I go back to sleep.
    Love the snowy picture. I heard you had snow. Stay snug,x

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  4. I, too, rise early… I haven’t always; but my babies were all early risers, and that seemed to change my clock. Now that they all sleep–I’m so grateful to be up early! As it is for so many, those are my sacred hours; reading Mary Oliver here makes me ache with appreciation for the time (Now, today started a bit TOO early. 2:15! While I did enjoy some coffee and finished a book I’ve been loving, I’m going to need a big girl nap, no doubt.) Have a wonderful week–and embrace the snail!

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  5. I welcome poetry any day, and Mary Oliver every day. she has the best way with words, and a kind reminder to be gentle, and pay attention. wishing you a gentle week. xxoo.

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