Friday, June 17, 2011

Poetry Friday -- Happy Birthday, Mom!

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?

My mom has had a long and wild and precious life. Yesterday we celebrated her 84th year. For the past two weeks I've been home, and we've been celebrating (in no particular order) a life of 

being the clerk of the course for swim meets, 
leading local women's clubs, and brownies, and cub scouts,
failing at scrap-booking (oh, well!), 
collecting dolls and figurines and miniatures and iris (even raising some from seed), 
being a cat fancier,
Colorado I-70 driving (Burlington to Denver and back again countless times),
iPad gaming,
and always and forever being curious and willing to learn and try new things.

Happy Birthday, Mom! 
Thanks for making me who I am today!

Jone has the round up today at Check It Out, and there are still a few slots left in the July-December round up host schedule I started last week.


  1. I've never met your mom though I feel as though I know her well. What an incredible lady!! I love how "young" she is at heart and always willing to learn. Happy bday to ML's mom!!

  2. Happy birthday to your mom. I hope you are enjoying the time with your family. I know I am enjoying following your adventure.

  3. Mary Lee,

    Happy Birthday to your mother! That's one of my favorite Mary Oliver poems. I think we are both fortunate to have wonderful mothers. My mother turned ninety-three this past February--and she is still in excellent health.

  4. Wowza! It's Mary Lee's famous three-layer chocolate cake! What a masterpiece :).

    Happy Birthday to your Mom. Love hearing about her wild and precious life. Gorgeous poem, just perfect!

  5. Happy Birthday to your mom! Sounds like she has been a great teacher, just like her daughter!

  6. Sweet! What a special entry. I love your reflection!

    And I can't believe one of those trips to and from didn't include a "Hey, let's meet for coffee!"

  7. Hi, Mary Lee--

    I do love Mary Oliver, but I only heard this poem for the first time at my Highlights workshop, where it was beautifully recited by Joy Acey. I might need to post it too, in my developing series on what I mean by "mjlu".

    I would LOVE to have two weeks to hang with my mother and do all that catching up. In fact I will have some time with her this week, out at the beach. Your post will help me treasure that appropriately.

  8. I adore this poem--what a great celebration of your mom!


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