Thursday, July 16, 2009


Becky Laney has Roundup at Becky's Book Reviews. My contribution is this one, by one of my most favorite poets... would love to hear your answer to the question in the last line:

The Summer Day

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?


  1. I love Oliver's work. I like the intimacy and honesty here. I like that while she doesn't embrace religion, she doesn't mock it either.

  2. I had forgotten that *that* ending (often quoted) goes with *that* poem. I love that grasshopper eating sugar out of her hand!


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