by Mary Oliver

I wish I was twenty and in love with life
and still full of beans.

Onward, old legs!
There are the long, pale dunes; on the other side
the roses are blooming and finding their labor
no adversity to the spirit.

Upward, old legs! There are the roses, and there is the sea
shining like a song, like a body
I want to touch

though I’m not twenty
and won’t be again but ah! seventy. And still
in love with life. And still
full of beans.

IMAGE: “Wild Geese,” acrylic on canvas by Blanca Botero-Fuentes, inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem of the same title. The painting was featured in the  2011 exhibit A Dialogue: Poetry-inspired painting by Blanca Botero-Fuentes, with a print catalog available at

Mary Oliver (c) Dorothy Alexander

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Oliver is a poet that New York Times described as “far and away, [America’s] best-selling poet.” Her first collection of poems, No Voyage, and Other Poems, was released in 1963. Since then, she has published numerous books, including A Thousand Mornings (2012), New and Selected Poems (1992) — winner of the National Book award — and American Primitive (1983), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize.