A Time To Gather Spiritual Honey


Here’s a good spring poem to take you into the weekend. Mary Oliver, whose poems often teeter between depression and ecstasy, finds herself lifted up by May blossoms that “storm out of the darkness.”

Although Oliver at first identifies with the bees diving into the flowers, ultimately she longs to be the flowers themselves. She admires how, though “mute and meek,” they have a deep certainty that “rides near the hub of the miracle that everything is a part of.” In other words, the flowers have a direct connection with the Life Force.

Those who do the diving, then, are using the flowers to make a primal connection, just as people use prayer to get closer to God and poetry to get closer to mystery. The blossom are miraculous because they come from a dark place and can make luminous our own dark places.


By Mary Oliver

May, and among the miles of leafing,
blossoms storm out of the darkness—
windflowers and moccasin flowers. The bees
dive into them and I too, to gather
their spiritual honey. Mute and meek, yet theirs
is the deepest certainty that this existence too—
this sense of well-being, the flourishing
of the physical body—rides
near the hub of the miracle that everything
is a part of, is as good
as a poem or a prayer, can also make
luminous any dark place on earth.

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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