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I Want to Write Something So Simply by Mary Oliver

One of the greatest tragedies of my life is not being able to bear a child. My body is treacherous, you see, and early in my life it has decided that my womb will always be empty. Because we are seven years and an entirely different world apart, I had the privilege of pretending that you are mine. The past few years have been a lovely exercise at mothering, but not without consequence: our own mother was very honest at her distaste for my taking care of you, retreating to her room of jealousy and neglect, which she is wont to do with all of her children. She didn’t want you, and I did. I could never forgive her for abandoning you at such an early age — she did that to me, and while growing up I couldn’t help but think if that is the reason why I feel so lost all the time.

I got into trouble often because I treated you like my own. But I couldn’t give you up. And now some force beyond my control wants to take you away. I don’t know what’s worse: looking in at you at night knowing I am powerless to protect you from things I couldn’t see, or hearing that I have no right to feel more devastated than her because you are not mine. But you are. You are.

I Want to Write Something So Simply
Mary Oliver

I want to write something
so simply
about love
or about pain
that even
as you are reading
you feel it
and as you read
you keep feeling it
and though it be my story
it will be common,
though it be singular
it will be known to you
so that by the end
you will think—
no, you will realize—
that it was all the while
yourself arranging the words,
that it was all the time
words that you yourself,
out of your heart
had been saying.

Comments (4)

  • Summer

    I love the poems you pick. They always seem to strike a chord with whatever is going on in my own life. I would love to know where you find all of these.

  • What a gorgeous poem. I will enjoy looking around your blog!

  • i dnt no hws is hell is,but aftr my hrt brkd i would lve to live in hell rather than this.

  • Lisa

    The poem and the pain resonate


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