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by Mary Oliver

Analysis: Speaker

If we had to help our speaker fill out her tax return, we'd be up a creek. We don't know where she lives, what her name is, what she does for a living, and we certainly don't know her social security number.

But that's cool. We think we've got her number anyways. At least, we know her well enough to understand her role in the poem. We know she's got a deceased mother and father, who were a big part of her life, but not always an awesome part of her life. And we know she digs nature, probably more than most. We wouldn't be surprised if we stumbled upon her hugging a tree or two.

It also seems like her head over heels love for nature is somehow linked to her sorrowful past. How's that? Well this is a person who finds solace in nature—it refreshes her, just like she hopes this poem will refresh us. Nature helped heal her wounds, and she's utterly convinced that it can do the same for us.

Yeah, we're not going to lie—she can be a bit pushy. She's got all kinds of advice for us less naturally inclined readers. We need to get out more, appreciate more. Frolic in fields. Dance in the rain. Climb a tree. "Live with the beetle, and the wind."

So tell us, Shmoopers, are you game?

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