What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

25 Jul

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 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?

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  1. Noah commented 11 years ago

    The Human Condition

    I can marvel at mystery
    Enclosed in rock and earth and salts
    That capture the universe
    Spirit-breathed substance,
    But dare I ask into the Great Divine
    How I can surge life through these soon to be dusty bones
    Or turn a weighted heart of stone to flesh
    Or crystallize a thought so pure,
    the Gods consume its beauty.

    I can sing the praises of these leaves
    The sacred earth’s mantle
    And lie cradled in the arms of swaying gum trees
    Heady with the eucalyptic perfume
    Listening to the sap rise and fall,
    But dare I look within
    And search for the life-force
    To quench the drought and stagnation
    of how to truly live this life.

    I can marvel at the majesty of beast
    The power sinew and creative urge
    Procreation and survival,
    But how do I stop my own howling at the moon?
    Or raise my own raw desire to the feet of angels?

    I can fall prostrate in wonder at the Gods
    Traverse realms of Spirits
    Trek in an eyeblink to the top of yet seen mountains,
    But how do I contain myself within this form,
    this daily life, this body?
    And still dance the dreams of my soul?

    Mineral, plants, beast without and within
    Angel’s wings caressing.
    It’s all wax and waning
    Around the seasons of eternity.
    Whilst I, in this blessed lifetime
    Strive to become fully human.

    Noeleen Bowen

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