Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean โ€”
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 โ€”
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?

Oliver, Mary. House of Light. United States, Beacon Press, 2012.

Why I chose this poem

It's not my favorite of Oliver's poems, although the layers of defensiveness and challenge are pleasantly human. I wouldn't include it among the poems I love if it weren't for an unexpected flash of connection I felt today when talking about Lucille Clifton's "it was a dream" with a dear friend.

Two poems concerned with how their speakers spend their days. Very different tones.