Friday, April 06, 2007

To Pay Attention

For today's offering, something contemporary. Mary Oliver is one of America's finest contemporary poets, combining a keen set of senses attuned to the natural world with a remarkable gift for language. This poem is from her 1992 Collection, New and Selected Poems.

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?

Happy Easter!

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Anonymous Nick said...

This is a very beautiful poem.

5:48 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I'm glad you like it. She is one of our very finest poets. Thanks for reading and commenting!

11:32 AM  

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