Quote of the Day:
The Summer Day (aka The Grasshopper)
by 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?
“The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver, from The Truro Bear and Other Adventures: Poems and Essays.
Click over here to hear Mary Oliver read this poem to you. Close your eyes and let the words fill your imagination.
I woke to a cold and dreary morning. The wind was blowing, the sky was grey, but the rain hadn’t started, so I got up and dressed in case my walking partner was up for a walk. I opened the door and saw the first raindrops, closed it again and made coffee. As I was reading blogs and facebook posts, I found this link, posted by my talented photographer friend Joey. She does most of the photos for the magazine that I write for. We have become a great creative team.
Since I was in the quiet kitchen, just me and the cat, and the hum of the refrigerator, and the scent of coffee, I could truly listen to Mary Oliver read her poem, let the words soak in, shut my eyes to see the imagery.
My comment to Joey: I could write a whole blogpost on my response to hearing Mary Oliver read this poem. Doesn’t it make you want to grab your blankie and pillow and curl up in her voice, her words, and the images they create?
Her response to me, my gift of the morning: Yes…..just like the images you just created, Mary.
So, I did, I wrote up a blogpost to share with you a truly lovely way to start a dreary day. I’m inspired to do more than simply clean my kitchen today (and a bathroom or two). I feel motivated to make something good happen. Maybe schedule a production of Coffee Shop Confessions (with or without music, that’s been my hold-up). It’s time to share it with the world.
Journaling Prompt: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
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Mary, I love the poem and your reflection. I posted on kindness today and for me, at least for today, I want to be kind in my one life. What I do may change from day to day, year to year, but I want to be kind and I want others to see that in my. Thanks, great post.
I hope to follow my heart, in every day, in my choices and decisions and awareness. But no matter what I do, I wish for many times when I’m immersed in the moment, just like the narrator of the poem. To be so aware of life around me.
wow! LOVE that poem!
this is truly lovely…thank you for sharing. Today I have book club – that is a happy day.
This poem has criss crossed through my life, floating in at different times, and always has something to say to me.
Mary, ah, thanks for bringing that other Mary to my attention today. It’s dreary and gray here, too. I just saw Beth on her way to camp with a group of her friends. I’m beginning to turn toward my trip, but with a strained back that seems not to want to realign on its own. So I’m feeling the slowness of the day now and just trying to reorient, and hoping for less physical pain so I can truly leave tomorrow and enjoy my one wild and precious life to the fullest! 🙂
It’s just dreary hot here! Now, go do something with the rest of your day.
This was read on a day it was needed. Thank you for it. 🙂
Hearing poetry read by the poet is the best. It’s a whole different experience of the poem.
What a beautiful poem! I want to laugh and have a good sense of humor. I want to love everyone and see that we are really one. I want to have patience.
The thing I feel consistently when I read Mary Oliver, and when I’ve heard her read here in the west, among many other things, is that I wish I had written it. I appreciate very much what she does with words and sounds, her craft, her themes. More than all that, the spirituality of her work always embraces me. Thank you for this meaningful post, Mary. Peace and continued good things for you, Dear.
That really is a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I always love your posts! I’ve been sensing a lot of peace and tranquility in them lately.
Mary Oliver is a favorite writer of mine and that is one of her finest poems.
As for the journal prompt, my intention is, like Andie, to be kind (which doesn’t always mean being NICE), to think of others more than myself, without of course neglecting my own well-being. I wish to follow God’s plan for my life and be patient as it unfolds each day. 🙂
I’m going to enjoy the ride 🙂
Live each day to the fullest and never feel sorry for myself or say bad things to people, even if they are bad people.
Another great post!
After the brutal and crazy first thirty five years of my life, I plan to do just what I’m doing now. Enjoying my family and my world. Everything is gravy…