Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Poem to Ponder

I've been, naturally, thinking a lot about parenting lately. At first I was obsessed with the survival-oriented technical details about how I am going to parent. How will I logistically function? What will I do if both babies need me at the same time? Will I love one more than the other? But lately, that thinking has turned a little more philosophical: How can I keep these kids safe without raising fearful children? How can I teach them to enjoy every moment when sometimes I am so wrapped up in the past and the future? How can I raise spiritual kids in this material world when I can be so out of touch with my own spirituality? This Mary Oliver poem really hit home with me. Does it speak to parenting, to spirituality, to living life for you?

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?

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