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.
Joey at the Table Reading of Coffee Shop Confessions. She had tea, just like Lolly, the character she brought to life.
Journaling Prompt: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?