Monday, June 20, 2011

one, two, three juicy grasshoppers

Some coincidences cannot be ignored. A coupla weeks ago I enjoyed a gripping performance of the poem below by Joy Acey, a fellow participant in that Highlights Foundation workshop I keep mentioning. It's one of the poems Joy uses in her workshops with children. Despite my fondness for Mary Oliver's work, it was new to me, and striking.

Then I found the same celebration of ordinary miracles (go here for the start of this thread) posted on Mary Lee Hahn's Year of Reading blog, with a whole different 84th birthday spin on it.

Today I notice that the actual title of this poem is not "The Grasshopper," or "A Prayer," or even "At last, and too soon." Instead it is "The Summer Day"--not "A Summer Day," but "THE Summer Day," and here it comes. Tomorrow our family will host our 10th Annual Summer Solstice Picnic, a loose affair involving a Ritual Unveiling of Foil and Plastic, watermelon, lightning bugs, mosquitoes, public consumption of alcohol, and quite often a thunderstorm.

Maybe this year, as we drag the picnic tables up the hill to the gazebo, there will be a grasshopper. I'll take sugar just in case.

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....

Read the rest at http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/133.html

P.S. More juice: my son is right now telling me that "this pineapple has two kinds of energy, even though it's not moving: heat energy, and citrus energy: the burning acid parts....It's true."

1 comment:

  1. Those last few lines really clinch it, don't they?

    Happy Summer Solstice! We celebrate the Winter Solstice with Navajo stew and sage bread and gifts from the Kachinas!

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