ONE WILD & PRECIOUS POET


Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Mary Oliver (1935-2019) left a trail of impeccably chosen words behind her. She used them sparingly and reverently, creating doorways to stark and breathtaking beauty. My own books of poetry exist in large part because of her inspiration. May she RIP with the Eternal Word.


This poem is one of my favorites (hence the title of this blog) and ends with a question that begs an answer each and every new day...do you know?


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?

from New and Selected Poems, 1992 Beacon Press, Boston, MA

Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver


"Poetry isn't a profession, it's a way of life. It's an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that." ~Mary Oliver



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