Poetry Sunday: Don't Hesitate by Mary Oliver

How about we share another Mary Oliver poem? After all, you can never have too many of those.

In this one, the poet seems to acknowledge that it is often hard to simply live in and enjoy the moment, perhaps because we are afraid it can't last. She urges us to give in to that moment and fully experience the joy. Although "much can never be redeemed, still, life has some possibility left."

Don't Hesitate

by Mary Oliver

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.


  1. "Joy is not made to be a crumb." No truer words were ever spoken. From Mary Oliver we always expect perfection and once again she delivers.

    1. It's something that we need to be reminded of, I think, especially when there is so much tragedy and unhappiness around us. We should never undervalue or denigrate those moments of pure joy.

  2. nice thought, and apropos... i read somewhere that it takes 4000 thousands of a second for outer sensations to be interpreted by the brain, so in actuality, we all live in the past, altho not by very much, lol...

  3. If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
    don’t hesitate. ---- Great advice! It's just so hard to do sometimes lol

    1. And that, I think, is her point. Give in to it, even if it is hard because those moments are precious. They are not crumbs.

  4. I'm printing this one out and hanging it by my mirror so I can read it every morning for awhile. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Joy is not meant to be a crumb - what a way to say it.

    1. Oliver did have a unique way of expressing herself.

  6. I'm so glad that Mary Oliver became a poet and shared her richest and wisest thoughts with us.

  7. Amazing! Poetry writing, Well Mary Oliver is a prolific poetry writer!
    Her poems are simple and beautiful, but they have a powerful force that touches us all:)


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