Friday, November 18, 2011

A poetic interlude

In posting-absence land.  Where I apparently live now.  Life is a bit sad and happy, up and down, full of small moments of horrible, and little joys. 

So I read this poem, and, not being one for poems in general (a shameful confession, I know), it accidently caught my attention all the way to the end.

So, here it is!

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA



Elizabeth said...

Yes. This is one of my favorite Oliver poems -- I even heard her reciting it once here in Los Angeles. Mesmerizing.

Stacey said...