Review: The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays

The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays by Mary Oliver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my favorite book by Mary Oliver. It is a collection of 55 poems (with two essays) all about animals: bears, snakes, spiders, porcupines, humpback whales, and others. I love having these all in one book!

Some excerpts:


There is, all around us, the country
Of original fire.

You know what I mean.

The sky, after all, stops at nothing, so something
Has to be holding
our bodies
in its rich and timeless stables or else
we would fly away…

In the green
and purple weeds
called Zostera, loosely
swinging in the shallows,

I waded, I reached
 my hands
 in that most human
of gestures — to find,
to see, to hold whatever it is that’s there —
 — and what came up
wasn’t much,
but it glittered
 and struggled,
 it had eyes, and a body

like a wand,
it had pouting lips.
No longer, all of it,
than any of my fingers,
it wanted
away from my strangeness,
it wanted
to go back
into that waving forest
so quick and wet…

Swoon (essay)

In a corner of this rented house a most astonishing adventure is going on. It is only the household of a common spider, a small, rather chaotic web half in shadow. Yet it burgeons with the ambition of a throne. She– for the female that is always in sight– has produced six egg sacs, and from three of them, so far, an uncountable number have spilled. Spilled is precisely the word, for the size and motions of these newborns are so meager that they appear at first utterly lifeless, as though the hour of the beginning had come and would not be deferred, and thrust them out, with or without their will, to cling in a dark skein of tangled threads…

… All the questions that the spider’s curious life made me ask, I know I can find answered in some book of knowledge, of which there are many.  But the palace of knowledge is different from the palace of discovery, in which I am, truly, a Copernicus. The world is not what I thought, but different, and more! I have seen it with my own eyes!

View all my reviews

Published by Beth @ Beth's Bookish Thoughts

This blog is for my thoughts on reading. A couple of my friends on GoodReads have blogs, so eventually I decided to start one myself. I hope to get involved in the book blogging community and become a better reader and writer! I am not accepting copies of new books for review, but I would be interested in new editions or new translations of classic authors. Find me on Upwork (as an editor) in the profile link. From September 2018 to October 2020 I blogged at Blogger.

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