“Anne” – Mary Oliver Poem Put to Music

Yesterday afternoon, I painted my 100th portrait (Beyoncé!), finishing my project that spanned over 3 years.

While reading in bed last night, that completion energy swept over me (nothing like a move in four days to spark getting things done, right?), and I was propelled to finish something else: a song I wrote this summer.

It’s Mary Oliver’s poem “Anne” put to music. I recorded a video of myself playing it back in September, added a few bars of vocal harmony a few weeks later, and there it sat for a month.

I’d wanted to add more—a shaker for some rhythm during the chorus, perhaps a bass line, layer on some oooos so it wouldn’t feel so empty—but being a newbie to Garage Band and this whole recording thing, that also felt a little overwhelming. (Maybe that’s why I hadn’t touched it in a month.)

So I added captions and published the song to YouTube last night:

(Volume needs to be loud to hear! I’ll do better with this on this on my next video creation…)

The message in this poem deeply resonates with me—that’s why I turned it into a song!—and that’s also why I wanted the words to appear on-screen.

I’ll also include the poem here, in writing:

Anne by Mary Oliver

The daughter is mad, and so
I wonder what she will do.
But she holds her saucer softly
And sips, as people do,
From moment to moment making
Comments of rain and sun,
Till I feel my own heart shaking–
Till I am the frightened one.
O Anne, sweet Anne, brave Anne,
What did I think to see?
The rumors of the village
Have painted you savagely.
I thought you would come in anger–
A knife beneath your skirt.
I did not think to see a face
So peaceful and so hurt.
I know the trouble is there,
Under your little frown;
But when you slowly lift your cup
And when you set it down,
I feel my heart go wild, Anne,
I feel my heart go wild.
I know a hundred children,
But never before a child
Hiding so deep a trouble
Or wanting so much to please,
Or tending so desperately all
The small civilities.


I’m grateful for our human ability to playfully make things, the joy of beginning something new, and for Mary Oliver’s words!