My yoga teacher started class this morning with a lovely Mary Oliver poem (aren't they all?), about attention. Ironically, although I live in the present a lot these days, I couldn't do it during yoga. Every time she'd tell us to center and sink in, to pay attention, my mind would wander. And then I would notice the wandering, and try to focus, and still end up with eyes and thoughts darting around the room. The woman next to me kept doing poses wrong, and I wanted to correct her, or have the teacher fix it. The man in front was huffing and puffing and generally making a new age spectacle of himself. My pants kept sticking to me in funny ways because of how hot and sweaty I was. Nevertheless, it was a great class and a great way to start the day. Here's the poem:
The Summer Day
Mary Oliver (1992)
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?