Thursday, March 06, 2008

A little poetry in the afternoon

For some reason I thought of this poem today (even though it's actually pretty gloomy out). I used to love it. It's a little more direct than I usually like my poems, but I think the last two lines resonate so strongly that it's worth it.

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?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Besides the "one precious life" sentiment, I like the implicit references to Blake and Shakespeare. And the image of a grasshopper washing her face. Owen gave me the book with this poem in it when I graduated from CSUF.