Wherever I’ve lived, my room and soon
the entire house is filled with books;
poems, stories, histories, prayers of
all kinds stand up gracefully, or are
heaped on shelves, on the floor, on
the bed. Strangers old and new offering
their words bountifully and thoughtfully,
lifting my heart.
But wait ! I’ve made a mistake!
How could these makers of so many books
that have given so much to my life –
how could they possibly be strangers?
~ Mary Oliver (1935- 2019), poet and essayist.
I learned to build bookshelves and brought books to my room, gathering them around me thickly. I read by day and into the night. I read my books with diligence, and mounting skill, and gathering certainty. I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too.
~ Mary Oliver