At one point I had various pieces of Mary Oliver’s poems written up on my mirror. The marker washed off, but my mother hadn’t been pleased with it anyway. I don’t get to see her words everyday when I look in the mirror but I love rereading her poems. There’s a lot of poetry I can’t get into, but I feel something every time I read one of her poems.
I think this is the first poem of hers I discovered, Lead.
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?
~ Mary Oliver, The Summer Day