Mary Oliver, the great American poet, died aged 83.
This week I honour Mary Oliver in our Newsletter by sharing her most famous poem with you, with those most quotable fabulous final lines.
The Summer Day
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?
Oliver leaves us with that blinding rhetorical question that is both a challenge and an affirmation.
I read of her death and re read this poem on Friday evening after watching the fabulous and heroic efforts of our U15 rugby team. What a team they are? Powerful, aggressive, skilful and trusting in each other. Their 29-10 win means they are now South West Champions and one of the eight best teams in England. Next the Judd School and they have to play us at home!
There is such pride and belief in St James boys now, they believe they can do anything. There is also great heart and from heart comes power.
When I see our young men I do indeed wonder what they will do with their ‘one wild and precious life?’