Happy First Day of Summer

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?






2 thoughts on “Happy First Day of Summer

  1. Thanks for this spectacular poem, and I found myself wondering why I have never even heard of Mary Oliver especially after reading in wikipedia that she is “far and away” America’s best selling poet. As I was reading it I immediately thought of Walt Whitman so it was no surprise to find that one of her main influences was Walt Whitman. I’ve got some research to do now, thanks for this it really has stirred something, I never listened to the music yet but I’ll be back to do so. Thanks

    • You know, I learned about Mary Oliver not that long ago, so don’t feel badly! She is a wonderful poet and probably strikes a chord with me as well because of Whitman. Thanks for your comments. I liked the line you repeated from Blake about the truth in your reply to my comment on the commandments.

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