Mary Oliver & A Seasonal Simmer Pot


“On Winter’s Margin”

On winter’s margin, see the small birds now
With half-forged memories come flocking home
To gardens famous for their charity.
The green globe’s broken; vines like tangled veins
Hang at the entrance to the silent wood.

With half a loaf, I am the prince of crumbs;
By time snow’s down, the birds amassed will sing
Like children for their sire to walk abroad!
But what I love, is the gray stubborn hawk
Who floats alone beyond the frozen vines;
And what I dream of are the patient deer
Who stand on legs like reeds and drink the wind;—

They are what saves the world: who choose to grow
Thin to a starting point beyond this squalor.

by Mary Oliver 


Simmer pots – little pots of bubbling seasonal spices – are a remedy for the soul if I’ve ever heard of one. Much like Mary Oliver, they warm up my senses, while helping me sink into the moment I am in and the season that surrounds us. This one smells undoubtably like winter, perhaps like Narnia or a wintery forest in the midst of its first fallen snow. And this poem, it’s a delicate salute to winter and all her barren beauty, and could not be more aptly timed as we inch towards colder days. It’s snowless here, however its sparse and chilly as ever. And like this simmer pot, the world outside our windowpanes are anything but hollow, beauty is in the stillness.

All you need to make your home smell like winter is a pot, of course, and some bits of nature. You can switch up the recipe depending on what you have on hand, making this a fun little kitchen experiment for frosty, restless days.

What You’ll Need:

  • a small pot for simmering
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • small handful of cranberries, dried or fresh
  • 2 dried oranges
  • 2 sprigs of your Christmas tree – it must be a real one, naturally, and any variety will do
  • 2 star of anise
  • two cups of water

Simply fill a small sauce pot with water, toss in the ingredients, and simmer on the stove for hours (adding water as needed). Happy hygging!


Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *