Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Over the summer I was reading a book that contained a single line from a poem, and I found the line so compelling that I researched the poem and found it in its entirety. During the week of Thanksgiving, the poem resonates particularly beautifully. You know, this world isn't easy, and it seems altogether frightening that we can look around and see others not faring as well as we would like. It is a reminder to me, as it should be, that the life I have been given is precious and beautiful; it deserves my thankfulness each day, which I often forget to offer. Invariably I will look back upon the days of my life in wistfulness and know how good I have had it: that I have had the love of two parents, a brother, and a sister who have always cared so deeply about me; that I have met a man who is my partner in all things, and makes me feel happy and secure every day; that I have been given the precious opportunity to give life to little boys, who have blessed me with a purpose that I could have never comprehended before their arrivals; that I have in-laws who have embraced me as an extension of my husband and treated me as one of their own; that I have the support, love, and laughter of many great friends; that I have a body that functions as it is supposed to; and that my family and I have the means to obtain not only what we need, but also so much of what we desire. May I always remember to be thankful along the way, and not wait until the end to look back at how beautiful life really is.

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?

from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA
Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver

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