The Summer Day

“who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-“ unknown photographer

The summer is slipping away, you feel it in the cool of the dawn before the dew evaporates.

It is in the darkness arriving minutes sooner as each day comes to a close.

These times have been at once, strange, tragic and transformative. We are lurching towards a Fall that is unpredictable and unknown at best.

The poem below has been appearing for me in partial and complete form many times in the last few days and I want to share it before “The Summer Day” has passed.

The last two lines are ones I will be repeating to myself daily as we edge slowly forward.

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?

Mary Oliver

westcoastwoman 2020

11 thoughts on “The Summer Day

  1. I love this poem so much. Thank you for your post.

    I am up early doing my 21 day writing challenge.

    I think the writing is saving me Janet. How are you? We cannot go out as the air is so bad. Weeks now. on Wednesday it was black as night during the day. And orange. Ash is everywhere.

    In yesterdays short free write my India trip showed up for a bit. I would love to send you some of my short pieces if you would like to read them.

    Wishing you well as always with love and a big hug, Cheryl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheryl
      With your approval I read your piece about the fires/possible evacuation out to my writing group this morning. I was in tears, although you have not lost your sense of humor through it all so there were also a few laughs. The piece is excellent, we all agreed that to hear a personal story from ground zero of not only fires but the pandemic brings it all right up close and personal and San Francisco is certainly ground zero right now. You hear about ‘fires’ but you just put it aside somehow.
      We were meeting outside as that is how we meet with covid and as I was reading we started to smell smoke and the we could see it in the air. The smoke was from the West Coast fires in Washington, Oregon and California making it’s way up here.
      There are no borders for climate change. we are in this together, the whole planet….. “the earth is burning”


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