The winner of many literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, Mary Oliver (b. 1935) is a popular American poet whose lyric poems contemplate the beauty of nature and the place of human beings in the natural world. In her 2004 poem “Daisies,” the solitary speaker takes a walk through a rural landscape in summer, listening to a mockingbird sing above her and gazing at the daisies underfoot. She ponders “what the world is… and what it means,” what nature can teach us, and what it is and is not possible for us to know. This poem’s themes make it especially well suited for reflective discussion among educators, students, naturalists or environmentalists, and members of spiritual or faith communities.
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What do we know for sure? What do we not know?What is the value of uncertainty?Why do we reflect? What makes reflection difficult?What can we learn from nature and the environment?What are the greatest obstacles to teaching and learning?Where does the best learning happen – in the classroom or elsewhere?Who or what makes learning possible?Can knowledge be a barrier to wisdom? How?How do we become wise?What do we learn from silence?What does it look like to be truly present?