wild and precious

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?

Well, Mary…

I MUST call you Mary.
I hope that won’t pose a problem,
Ms Oliver.

In our circle, you are just Mary,
and we all know it’s you.

Like Walt,
Emily,
or Sylvia.

But I deflect
before I even begin.

For to answer your question,
I must look
far
deeper
than I like.

your one wild and precious life

What DO I plan to do with it?

Wild…
Precious…

Paralyzing.
Exhausting.

Should be…

Exhilarating,
right?

Somehow, I’m doing it wrong.

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.

Yes. Yes, please.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Indeed. What else.

Mary. Dear, sweet, Mary.

Teach me.


And now for today’s prompt (optional, as always). One thing that makes me want to write poetry is reading poetry. Sometimes, reading another poet’s work gives me an idea or image. And sometimes I read a poem that I want to formally respond to – whether because I agree with it, or disagree with it, or just because it starts a conversation in my head that I want to continue on the page.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response. 


My poem is an all-time favorite from Mary Oliver, The Summer Day.

It was the first of her poems I ever heard, during an episode of On Being, and I quickly devoured everything of hers I could read. If only I could internalize for myself the peace I find in her words… That’s the gist of my responsorial poem today.

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