“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hot Summer

The Summer Day
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


I've been thinking a lot about my life these days. Or rather, I've been thinking about life, mine and others. Mostly I have been thinking about the intensity of anger I am experiencing in the world around me, and in the world beyond me. Personally I am not angry. I am saddened by the state of things, but I am not angry.

I feel as though I am walking through mud and wondering what has happened to this world we live in? Have we lost our ability to be people of grace? People of hope? People who, at the very least, are civil to one another?

When was the last time you experienced someone giving someone else "the benefit of the doubt?" The idea that, maybe just maybe, what I think is going is not actually going on? Or that sometimes people make mistakes but its not the end of the world? And what about compassion?

What are we going to do with this one wild an precious life? Me...I'm going to continue doing my level best to be kind and gracious to everyone - and trust me, these days, that is a major challenge.