Thursday, July 03, 2008
The other day on the Writer's Almanac, Garrison Keiller read a poem by Mary Oliver that set me alight.
In honor of Independence Day and the long holiday weekend, here's a great American poem which I hope inspires you to slow down, get with nature, and enjoy the richness of these summer days.
The Summer Day
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?
By Mary Oliver, from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays, Beacon Press, 2008.
[Link to more poems by Mary Oliver.]