Most of the year I spend my extra time reading books that will enlighten me clinically or with my nose in a parenting book. But this summer amidst the chaos of a busy practice and my hectic life with two children, I am finding myself drawn to poetry that nourishes my spirit.

Poetry is something that for me, must be digested, sat with, chewed upon; it is to be read and re-read. It must be allowed to enter slowly into my spirit. When I find that place behind the words, where resonance occurs and a feeling emerges, I am left open and speechless. I must breathe deeply and let myself be moved.

Lately, I have found myself reading once again one of my favorite Poets, Mary Oliver. Her observations and insights into both the natural world and human nature touch me deeply. I share with you today one of my favorite summer poems from her 1986 collection of poems entitled Dream Work. Please take a moment, still yourself and enjoy…

Morning Poem by 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.