Friday, July 04, 2008

Mary Oliver: The Summer Day

What better this warm, yellow, leaf-humming day than a true and simple summer poem.

Mary Oliver has visited this blog before, and in this poem you can recognize her pure and spacious curiosity and her heartfelt concentrated presence. Sorry about all the adjectives, but how explain a poet's voice?

Better just to read her:

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?

* * *

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
How about kneeling to your own nature, or to your one wild and precious life?
How about agreeing to the simplicity Mary Oliver is expressing.

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