“The light is everything” is the last line of “The Ponds” by Mary Oliver, who is one of my favorite poets of all time. In “The Ponds” Oliver encourages herself and us to look past the imperfections of life and focus on the beauty that exists. Here is the whole poem:
The Ponds by Mary Oliver
Every year the lilies are so perfect I can hardly believe
their lapped light crowding the black, mid-summer ponds. Nobody could count all of them—
the muskrats swimming among the pads and the grasses can reach out their muscular arms and touch
only so many, they are that rife and wild. But what in this world is perfect?
I bend closer and see how this one is clearly lopsided— and that one wears an orange blight— and this one is a glossy cheek
half nibbled away— and that one is a slumped purse full of its own unstoppable decay.
Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled— to cast aside the weight of facts
and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world. I want to believe I am looking
into the white fire of a great mystery. I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing— that the light is everything—that it is more than the sum of each flawed blossom rising and falling. And I do.