Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets.  Her poems often remind us that we are surrounded by beauty―she has a way of finding the miraculous in the small moments we might overlook until we meet them in her poems.

Photo credit by Bethel Photographer, Elyse Shapiro

This Morning

This morning the redbirds' eggs

have hatched and already the chicks

are chirping for food.  They don't

know where it's coming from, they

just keep shouting, "More! More!"

As to anything else, they haven't

had a single thought.  Their eyes

haven't yet opened, they know nothing

about the sky that's waiting.  Or

the thousands, the millions of trees.

They don't even know they have wings.

And just like that, like a simple

neighborhood event, a miracle is

taking place.

Mary Oliver (from Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver, Penguin Press, 2017)


Cortney Davis is the author of "I Hear their Voices Singing: Poems New & Selected" (Antrim House);  "Taking Care of Time," winner of the Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize from Michigan State University Press; "Leopold's Maneuvers" (University of Nebraska Press), winner of the Prairie Schooner Poetry Prize; and "Details of Flesh" (Calyx Books).  She is also the author of three award winning memoirs and co-editor of three anthologies of writing by nurses.  Her poems have appeared in journals including Poetry, Hudson Review, Superstition Review, Calyx, Descant, Sun, Bellevue Literary Review, Crazyhorse, Poetry East, Sentence, Underground Voices, Rattle, The Antigonish Review, and others, and have been widely anthologized.  

She has served as a faculty member at workshops and seminars including at Sarah Lawrence College, NY; the Mountain Writers Center in Oregon; University of Colorado; Barnard College and Columbia University, NY;  Portland State University and other venues. She has been a poet-in-the-schools, has taught writing workshops to nurses, physicians and Hospice volunteers, and  has presented readings throughout the United States, including Washington DC, Ohio, Boston, New York, South Carolina, San Francisco, Seattle, Connecticut, and Denver.  

Her honors include an NEA Poetry Fellowship and three CT Commission on the Arts Poetry Grants.  She has received an Independent Publishers' Silver Medal, a Living Now Gold Medal in Non-Fiction, a CT Center for the Book Award in Non-Fiction, a CT Center for the Book Award in Poetry, an Independent Publisher's Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal in Non-Fiction, a Tillie Olsen Creative Writing Award, and six Books of the Year first place awards in the category of creative works from the American Journal of Nursing.  In 2007, she was awarded a Nightingale Award for excellence in nursing.  Cortney serves as the first poet laureate of Bethel, CT.

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