Felicity by Mary Oliver

Starting the new year off with the new collection of poems by one of my favourite poets was an excellent idea. I was visiting family and would flit off every now and then to read a few pages. It was a lovely and calming way to look forward to the coming months. 

Every time I read Oliver, I want to rush off and buy all the books of her poems immediately and surround myself with her words. I'm lucky because I do have a backlist to work through - I didn't discover Oliver until a few years back and have since only read new releases. 

  photo by Rachel Giese Brown

photo by Rachel Giese Brown

There's just something about Oliver that I find deeply appealing and affecting. We're clearly kin when it comes to dogs, so that's part of it. The images and emotions her words affect is powerful. 

Though she writes about dogs and nature and love, I adored this poem because it's an excellent representation of what's it's like to undergo a minimalist transformation, which can be difficult to convey to someone who hasn't yet experienced one:


When I moved from one house to another 

there were many things I had no room 

for. What does one do? I rented a storage 

space. And filled it. Years passed. 

Occasionally I went there and looked in,

but nothing happened, not a single 

twinge of the heart. 

As I grew older the things I cared 

about grew fewer, but were more 

important. So one day I undid the lock 

and called the trash man. He took


I felt like the little donkey when 

his burden is finally lifted. Things! 

Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful 

fire! More room in your heart for love, 

for the trees! For the birds who own

nothing - the reason they can fly.