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 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?

by Mary Oliver

Other poems of OLIVER (91)

Comments (4)

Michael, I had to laugh at this fiirst as I spent the afternoon explaining the reasons for disproportionality in anti-terrorism stop and search statistics today! You've pulled together a grand argument that you drive through the poem. I like works like that which take the reader along with them and then suddenly open their eyes. Enlightening write Michael. Cheers.
Excellent comparison of 'proportionality' in different settings, an altogether apt and worthy rant, if ever I read one. And too, well, I had to laugh at the Waterloo bit, having experienced the latter first hand and fascinated by the former. Proportionality... fair play... sportsmanship... war as sport with an absence of anything resembling humanity (even for the dead) ... You've said a mouthful, Michael.
As a rant, I absolutely agree, goes without saying. I think the structure works, too - told as if an ironic depiction of a schoolmaster (heh heh) explaining what this British 'tradition' (my arse) means. Good continued match analogy, too. 'Would anyone notice'... perhaps the most troubling question. In short: well said. t x
As to the message, hear hear! ! As to the form....