ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Summer Day

I know it isn't officially summer yet, but here in Ottawa it is a perfect summer day IMHO! Days like this always make me think of Mary Oliver's poem "The Summer Day". At one time I used to have an inventory of poetry that has inspired me on my website. My website started to become too confusing and cluttered so I removed it. Mary Oliver's poems really speak to me because of her love and appreciation of nature. Here is her poem ... asking you in her last line what you plan to do with your "one wild and precious life"?

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?


  1. To sing! To laugh! To accept the harder times. To remember to remember!

  2. I love the last lines of this poem. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I did not know the real poem, but my husband did a piece of graphic design for his work that included a magnet, about 3x3 which is on my fridge. It is a torn paper scene of a path through the mountains, and the lines "Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?' It was several years ago, and I can tell you that magnet has made me stop and think on more than one occasion. So nice to see the whole poem here.

    BTW - imho, you can call yourself an artist when you bring together in one place or piece or moment: intention, emotion, and action.

    Kathie in NC


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