My plan for today was to re-post some material from susiemeserve.com about my journey to finding an agent for my recently completed memoir. Then, last night, I had a totally different idea: I was going to write about Jhumpa Lahiri’s excellent book The Interpreter of Maladies, and the things I’m learning about sentence structure from reading it. But then I woke up on an island in Maine. I went to a yoga class in a window-filled room overlooking the sea. Portland Head Light flashed into the room every ten seconds. And at the end of class, the teacher read Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day,” and I knew what I would do for popcorn today.
Here, not reprinted with permission, I’m afraid, is Oliver’s “The Summer Day.” I hope your summer day is as perfect as mine.
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