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 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?
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
The question we should all ask ourselves, but not in the school room, not in answer to a parent or a teacher, not to our lovers, our spouses, our boyfriends, or our friends. This is a question that may be asked in a field of grass, in the silence of staring at a big blue sky, while listening to a morning bird song. It can be found in the transcendence of a candle’s flame.
This is the question for the soul, and the answer kept in a precious location, and made manifest not through what it is, but how we make the answer leap from the pages of our heart into the material world.
What do you plan to do, with your wild and precious life, this question I prefer to answer now, then at the end, when my breath begins to slow, and I realize too late…ah yes, my wild precious life of love. Have I lived you well? Have I loved well? Have I been true to the inner callings of my spirit. The one that whispers….”yes..yes! Do it!”