Poem of the Week – The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

At Waxing Poetic, we talk a lot about noticing things, and we bring this into practice through jewelry that represents these moments. These “little pieces” to us are like offerings, or, in a way, prayers.

Today’s poem holds that the act of attention is a form of prayer. It ends with a beautiful question of intention, and reminds us of the sacredness of the everyday and this one wild and precious life we are living.

The Summer Day

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?

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