I'm not really familiar with Mary Oliver's poetry, though her name keeps coming up. I discovered this poem yesterday via a post by Helen Lehndorf. Helen had 'written' words from the last line on an apple pie (it's really worth a look), and linked to the poem. It's quite short, so I thought I'd read it.
For me, it didn't start out all that promising. It reminds me at first of a children's prayer or something, and nature poetry - oh nature poetry, I must confess you almost always bore me. But I kept going - it's just a short poem - and then it started picking up for me here:
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.And then it quietly and simply, with this kicker ending, becomes one of my favourite poems ever:
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
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?
It's an end that could have very easily been a bit twee, and probably would be if it wasn't for that pairing of words from the top of the pie: 'wild and precious', which together in that context are a bit of a surprise, and delightful. They make me feel I could live wildly and preciously, just as she says (and I hope I do). I guess perhaps I should check out more of Mary Oliver's poetry then...
Head on over to the Tuesday Poem blog, where this week's editor Catherine Fitchett shares 'Fault' a poem by Christchurch poet Joanna Preston. It's a really restrained, powerful and very very good poem about the Canterbury Earthquakes: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/fault-by-joanna-preston.html.