RSS Feed


Mary Oliver writes in uncomplicated ways. It is not simple, but there are elements of simplicity linked to complexity. Her poem Praying is an example of this simplexity. Praying is an entreaty or asks for something and suggests creating space for responses. There is a simplicity in the way prayer unfolds. It happens anywhere, anytime, and with few words. The complex part is being quiet and discerning the answers. This requires quiet spaces that we have to craft out of the busyness of modern lives and days.

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.


About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

24 responses »

  1. Grand in being simple but eloquent! Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  2. I think thankfulness is another key ingredient here. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The simplest prayers can be so effective. When you don’t know what to pray, ‘please help’ comes in very handy.

  4. I love it. And I like your word ‘simplexity’!

  5. Just read one by her tonight from Evidence, called “Prayer.” I love her because I stopped praying long ago, mostly. But I miss it, and she offers a way back, not into religion though. A way of looking at myself as part of the universe maybe.

    “Prayer” by Mary Oliver

    May I never not be frisky,
    May I never not be risque.

    May my ashes, when you have them, friend,
    and give them to the ocean,

    leap in the froth of the waves,
    still loving movement,

    still ready, beyond all else,
    to dance for the world.

  6. “Simplexity” – perfect Ivon..

  7. Reblogged this on What a Heart Can Hold – visit my website at and commented:
    I love this poem. Thanks to Ivon for posting it on his blog. Such a simple thought – “it doesn’t have to be the blue iris.” I think understanding that is key to a joyful life.

  8. Just reblogged this. Thanks for posting it.

  9. Love this poem; love Mary Oliver’s poetry! Our lives do get busy & I hate it when I don’t have time to pray or rest silently in God. This poem’s “simplexity” always reminds me that our whole day is an expression of another kind of prayer. Thanks for the post!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: