Week 23: Mary Oliver

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” –Mary Oliver


Summer, 1964. Photo taken by Molly Malone Cook, from Our World (Beacon Press, 2007)

Who:  Mary Oliver

What: American poet

Where: Born in a small town in Ohio, and currently Provincetown, Massachusetts,

Why: admire Mary Oliver’s enchanting way to express so much powerfully and eloquently using so few words.  Communicating clearly and effectively is something I have been struggling with lately, finding it hard to say what I am intending to say, all the while reaching to capture the right words.

A favorite poem of mine crafted by Mary Oliver is The Summer Day, from House of Light (1990).

The Summer Day

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?

—Mary Oliver

Read more about this lovely writer at http://maryoliver.beacon.org/

Have a fabulous Sunday, and may it be an inspired one.


4 thoughts on “Week 23: Mary Oliver

  1. What an awesome poem! Totally love it!! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing, Melissa, I didn´t know her before but she sounds like an amzaing person! And your drawing has captured her perfectly, love the look in her eyes, so full of thoughts… Have a lovely weekend! xxxxxxx

  2. Oh no! It’s happened again! 😦 I didn’t get your comment but had to come over to discover it here…
    Anyway, I’ll definitely check her out! 🙂 And you’re always very welcome dear! 🙂 xxxxxx

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