'The Chance To Love Everything' by Mary Oliver
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All summer I made friends
with the creatures nearby ---
they flowed through the fields
and under the tent walls,
or padded through the door,
grinning through their many teeth,
looking for seeds,
suet, sugar; muttering and humming,
opening the breadbox, happiest when
there was milk and music. But once
in the night I heard a sound
outside the door, the canvas
bulged slightly ---something
was pressing inward at eye level.
I watched, trembling, sure I had heard
the click of claws, the smack of lips
outside my gauzy house ---
I imagined the red eyes,
the broad tongue, the enormous lap.
Would it be friendly too?
Fear defeated me. And yet,
not in faith and not in madness
but with the courage I thought
my dream deserved,
I stepped outside. It was gone.
Then I whirled at the sound of some
Did I see a black haunch slipping
back through the trees? Did I see
the moonlight shining on it?
Did I actually reach out my arms
toward it, toward paradise falling, like
the fading of the dearest, wildest hope ---
the dark heart of the story that is all
the reason for its telling?
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Chance To Love Everything: A Deep Dive into Mary Oliver's Poem
When it comes to poetry, Mary Oliver is a name that needs no introduction. Her works, rich in themes of nature and spirituality, have captured the hearts of readers all over the world. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we'll be taking a deep dive into one of Oliver's most beloved poems, "The Chance To Love Everything."
Overview of the Poem
"The Chance To Love Everything" is a short but powerful poem that speaks to the beauty and preciousness of life. It consists of five stanzas, each containing four lines. The poem centers around the idea that we should cherish every moment of our lives and embrace all that the world has to offer, both good and bad.
Analysis of the Poem
Let's start by breaking down each stanza of the poem and analyzing the imagery and themes present.
The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem:
"All summer I made friends with the creatures nearby — they flowed through the fields and under the tent walls."
The imagery here is one of kinship between the speaker and the natural world around her. The use of the word "friends" implies a sense of closeness and familiarity, and the fact that the creatures "flowed" through the fields gives the impression of a harmonious relationship between them and the speaker. The mention of the "tent walls" suggests that the speaker is camping or spending time in nature, further emphasizing her connection to the world around her.
The second stanza takes a slightly darker turn:
"In the fall I was left alone — the birds departed, their nests empty crude and torn, the trees creaked with their weight of fruit."
Here, we see a shift in the imagery from warmth and closeness to emptiness and loss. The fact that the speaker is "left alone" implies that the connections she had with the creatures in the previous stanza have been severed. The imagery of the empty and torn nests and the creaking trees suggests a sense of decay and abandonment. However, the mention of the "weight of fruit" is a reminder that even in the midst of loss and decay, there is still abundance and life.
The third stanza continues this theme of abundance:
"All summer I sang to them, felt their softness in my hands: soon they began to fly away — oh, I have been lonely."
The repetition of the phrase "All summer" from the first stanza serves to tie the two stanzas together thematically. The speaker's singing to the creatures and feeling their "softness" further emphasizes the intimacy and affection she feels for them. The fact that they "began to fly away" is a reminder that everything in life is transient and impermanent. The final line, "oh, I have been lonely," is a poignant statement of loss and longing.
The fourth stanza brings to mind the cyclical nature of life:
"How I look forward to the flock of their return — sometimes on a day of rapture I forget my loneliness."
The phrase "flock of their return" suggests a sense of anticipation and renewal. The fact that the speaker can forget her loneliness on a "day of rapture" is a reminder that even in the midst of sorrow and loss, there are moments of joy and ecstasy.
The final stanza brings the poem full circle:
"But mostly I just stand in the dark field, in the middle of the world, breathing in and out. Life so far doesn’t have any other name but breath and light, wind and rain."
The imagery of the speaker standing in the "dark field" is a reminder that even in the midst of darkness and uncertainty, there is still beauty and wonder to be found. The fact that she is "breathing in and out" is a reminder of the fundamental nature of life itself. The final line, "Life so far doesn't have any other name but breath and light, wind and rain," is a powerful statement on the simplicity and complexity of life.
Interpretation of the Poem
"The Chance To Love Everything" is a poem that speaks to the beauty and preciousness of life, and the importance of cherishing every moment we have. The theme of impermanence is woven throughout the poem, reminding us that nothing in life is permanent and that we must embrace everything that the world has to offer, both good and bad.
The imagery of the natural world is used to great effect in the poem, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all things and our place within the larger world. The sense of intimacy and affection between the speaker and the creatures around her is a reminder of the importance of human connection and the power of empathy and compassion.
Overall, "The Chance To Love Everything" is a deeply moving poem that speaks to the beauty and complexity of life. Mary Oliver's masterful use of imagery and language makes this poem a true masterpiece of modern poetry.
In conclusion, "The Chance To Love Everything" is a powerful reminder of the importance of cherishing every moment of our lives and embracing all that the world has to offer. Mary Oliver's use of imagery and language is masterful, and the themes of impermanence, interconnectedness, and human connection make this poem a true masterpiece. If you haven't read this poem before, I highly recommend it. It's a testament to the power of poetry to move and inspire us, and a reminder of the beauty and preciousness of life itself.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
The Chance To Love Everything: A Poem That Inspires Us To Embrace Life
Mary Oliver's poem "The Chance To Love Everything" is a beautiful and inspiring piece that encourages readers to embrace life and appreciate the beauty of the world around us. The poem is a celebration of the natural world and the joy that can be found in even the smallest things. In this analysis, we will explore the themes and imagery used in the poem, as well as the poet's message and how it can be applied to our lives.
The poem begins with the lines "All summer I made friends / with the creatures nearby." These lines set the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a celebration of the natural world and the connections we can make with it. The poet describes how she spent her summer getting to know the creatures around her, from the "squirrel, who secretly hid nuts / in the folds of the tree bark" to the "raccoon, who ate grapes / from the vine, and fled." These descriptions are vivid and evocative, painting a picture of a world that is full of life and wonder.
As the poem continues, the poet reflects on the beauty of the world around her. She describes the "wild roses, blooming in the fields" and the "heron, standing in the shallows / of the pond, his eyes / watching for the fish." These images are powerful and evocative, and they remind us of the beauty that can be found in even the most ordinary things.
One of the most striking things about this poem is the way that it encourages us to embrace life and to appreciate the world around us. The poet writes, "I don't want to miss / a single one of their stories." This line is a reminder that life is short, and that we should make the most of every moment. It is a call to live fully and to appreciate the beauty of the world around us.
Another important theme in the poem is the idea of connection. The poet describes how she made friends with the creatures around her, and how she felt a sense of kinship with them. This sense of connection is something that is often missing from our lives, as we become more and more disconnected from the natural world. The poem is a reminder that we are all part of the same world, and that we should strive to connect with the creatures around us.
The imagery used in the poem is also worth exploring. The poet describes the "wild roses, blooming in the fields" and the "heron, standing in the shallows / of the pond, his eyes / watching for the fish." These images are powerful and evocative, and they help to bring the world of the poem to life. They remind us of the beauty that can be found in even the most ordinary things, and they encourage us to appreciate the world around us.
Overall, "The Chance To Love Everything" is a beautiful and inspiring poem that encourages us to embrace life and to appreciate the beauty of the world around us. It is a reminder that life is short, and that we should make the most of every moment. It is a call to live fully and to connect with the creatures around us. This poem is a testament to the power of poetry to inspire and to move us, and it is a reminder of the beauty that can be found in the world around us.
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