Poetry Friday: I Want by Mary Oliver

Heidi is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up at My Juicy Little Universe.


The pasture on one side of the farm is dotted with clumps of stinging nettle.  They look lovely, and my research tells me that  sheep (who will hopefully graze there come next year) do, in fact, eat these.  Well, what I’m learning is that some sheep will deign to eat these. So, the question is should I dig them all up, dig some of them up, or just hope for the best: all of our sheep will delight in grazing upon this nettle.  The last option is what I am actually counting on, because these nettles are beasts to get near, and they sink their roots pretty deeply into the soil.  This seems to me a pretty hopeless task, all in all.

I was thinking through my various options this morning, edging closer and closer to a final decision, but wanting to do so without the appearance of fear (those thorns look to be at least an inch and a half long) or laziness (is this really how I want to spend this beautiful summer day?), when the thought came to me that these plants look like they belong here on this rugged pasture.  The purple blooms add a dash of color to the varying shades of green, and they look rather elegant as they sway and dance in the wind.  Who cares if they are just weeds?  They are at home in the pasture…they belong.


9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: I Want by Mary Oliver

  1. These grow wild along the edges of the hay fields near my house. We have always called them thistles, but whatever you call them, you have to leave them, Tara! Goldfinches love them! I can’t think of a better way to “be in partnership with the universe.”


  2. “Sunward” — what a great word! I’m trying to keep my weedy gaze to the sun.
    Those stinging nettles are awfully pretty, aren’t they? My family members take them (as capsules) for allergies.


  3. Tara, when I opened your post, I fell in love with the photo. What I called flowers you say weeds look so beautiful against the rolling slopes. They seem to be in partnership with the universe.


  4. This is such a lovely post. It encapsulates a tremendous journey–a shift from finding these thistles an irritant or annoyance to seeing that they are part of a larger whole and actually add to it. The Mary Oliver poem is new-to-me. Ahhh to be “in partnership with the universe!” It seems to me that you’ve moved one step closer to that goal!


  5. Thank you to you and to Mary Oliver — I will embrace being a “sweet, abrasive blade” in a clump of ordinary grass in a (gorgeously wild) unmown pasture of life!


  6. Those thorns say “don’t touch, leave me be to bloom and card the wool right off their backs when they come to eat me.” What an incredible thing you are doing, contemplating whether to dig instead how to begin the new school year!


  7. What a beautiful poem. Mary Oliver wows me every stinkin’ time. How does she do that? I think I might already be an abrasive blade. lol. Perhaps I should strive to be a tiger lily.


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