small life open hands

I Don’t Want To Live A Small Life: Poetry by Mary Oliver

Posted on July 12, 2017 by

I don’t want to live a small life.

Open your eyes, open your hands.

small life berry fields

Summer berry picking, near Carmel, CA 2007


I have just come from the berry fields,

the sun kissing me with its golden mouth all the way

(open your hands) and the wind-winged clouds
following along thinking perhaps I might
feed them,

but no I carry these heart-shapes only to you.

heart shaped cloud small life

Look how many small
but so sweet and maybe the last gift
I will bring to anyone in this
world of hope and risk, so do

Look at me.

Open your life, open your hands.

~ Mary Oliver


small life open hands

Cameron adventuring in Nicaragua, July 2013

This thoughtful poem about taking risks and living life openly by Mary Oliver found its way to me via A First Sip. It brought back memories of berry picking when my kids were little, gazing up at the sky and marveling at the minuteness of our existence when we’ve traveled through the lush and isolated mountains of Nicaragua.

I don’t want to live a ‘small life’ – I want to adventure and step out of my comfort zone. I want to teach my children to open their life, to open their hands, to open their hearts to all life has to offer. That’s one of the reasons I’ve found myself bringing my kids back to Nicaragua every few years – here we can push ourselves outside the small life we live every day – in Nicaragua, we realize that the world has so much beauty and love to offer when we push ourselves to pay attention.

What kind of life do you want to live? Please share your thoughts in the comments, and spend some time today thinking about the small and sweet gifts the world has to offer you.

Words are the spark that ignites my soul. I am a collector of language in all forms, believing the extraordinary beauty of the written word must be shared.

These monthly posts, inspired by another’s words, are my gifts of beauty and spirit, shared with love.


Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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One comment

  • My Inner Chick

    July 27, 2017

    “I don’t want to Live a Small life.”

    I like that….

    …but not a big life either…just a beautiful life! x

    thank you.

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