“The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver

I have shared a little about Mary Oliver’s poetry on this blog. But I am recognizing that, as with many things, I am so late to the Mary Oliver party. She is a beautiful writer.

I am continuing my new practice of reading collections of poetry and am currently reading House of Light by Mary Oliver. In it, is one of her more well known poems “The Summer Day,” which I thought was fitting given my posts this week on timeĀ passing and family.

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
The 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?

Here’s a recording of Mary Oliver reading this poem.

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