During a yoga retreat this fall, the instructor read us a Mary Oliver poem during savasana, which, when you think about it, might be the best time to receive a poem. In a relaxed, supine position, you can let a poem wash over you and consider it in a way that is not academic; you can simply experience it. I especially love that the theme is partly about summer, a blissful season. Even the word suggests a certain sparkle and warmth and sunshine. So, on this especially cold day of winter, I give you a taste 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 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?
So readers, what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Will you kneel down in the grass, stroll through the fields, or snap your wings open? Will you take a chance, write your own poem, or enjoy each moment for what it is: a moment?