"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

I have loved this quote from the moment I first saw it. I like that it refers to our lives as "wild and precious," because they are. I also like that it challenges us to revere our lives as something to be considered a gift and suggests there might be ways to plan for it that are more reverent than others.

Searching for the quote earlier this week, I discovered the entire poem. I. Love. It. I'm not really a huge fan of poetry, usually, but this one is short and sweet and so incredibly effective. For your reading pleasure:

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?


Do you see it? The grasshopper, I mean. Can you see her munching on sugar and washing her face? I can see her, but the eyes I'm looking out of are 7 years old and it's summer and I'm awed by this tiny creature so incredibly unlike me that is also, kind of, a lot like me, with arms and a face and a sweet tooth. 

Someday, we will paint pictures with our words, just like this. We will transport our readers to the place we see in our minds and help them hear it, see it, smell it too.


Sarah :: Your Plucky Picaroon

What commonplace thing will you see as if for the first time today?

Sarah :: Plucky in Love

Sarah, aka "Plucky", blogs on the reg, unless she's on vacation or there's a Pretty Little Liars marathon or she's mulling over the implications of the phrase "on fleek." She can't live without iced coffee, a portable phone charger, or equal pay. Say hello!

1 comment:

  1. I did an alternative break and we did a lot of our discussions based around Mary Oliver poetry. I am NOT a poetry person! But I LOVE Mary Oliver! She came to our campus for a reading and I just loved everything she read. So glad you shared this poem. :)