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To celebrate solstice, inspiration from “Summer Day” by Mary Oliver

21 Jun

Today is the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the first day of winter in the southern. Since I live in the north, I am celebrating the longest day and the shortest night!

Today is also the first day of my summer school class. At the top of my syllabus, I quote the last two lines of Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day” and I pass out a copy of the poem as well.

For your enjoyment, I am now passing it along to you. Please tell me what you plan to do with your own wild and precious life!

“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 enourmous 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’ve 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?

If you write poetry or like poetry, you might want to take a ride on the Poetry Train!

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2 Responses to “To celebrate solstice, inspiration from “Summer Day” by Mary Oliver”

  1. systematicweasel June 22, 2010 at 12:05 am #

    A wonderfully written piece! And for my plans in life, I plan on becoming a teacher. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Carol Henry June 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    This is one of my very favorites! Thank you for reminding me of it!

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