Mary Oliver

Wow!  Our son started crawling last week, which for me, feels like he has grown his first set of wings.  It’s fascinating to watch him decide the direction he wants to travel and independently choose the objects he prefers to explore.  He squeals with delight as he moves from place to place with a little twinkle in his eye.  It has been an exciting couple of weeks.

Of course, in my race to catch up with his progress – and more importantly, his whereabouts – I have started to feel a bit worn out.  Just when I thought I had our routine figured out, the rules changed…again!  As they say in Ghana, “no condition is permanent”, and oh, how I have been reminded of this fact over the last few months.

Luckily, my idea for one nice thing came along to save the day.  Tonight, I sat down on the couch to read a book of poems by Mary Oliver.  She is one of my favorite poets, writing mainly about nature, and I can always count on her to re-energize and lift me.  It was a lovely, simple hour that balanced the tremendous moving about we did all day.   Here is a little taste:

oliver book

The Summer Day

 

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

Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems

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 gloats 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?

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