April 12, 2016

Friday, September 14, 2012

Poetry Friday: Goodbye to Summer

Photo Credit: Julia Shovan

Bugs. Love them or hate them, in the summer they are unavoidable.

I think insects are fascinating, a trait I've passed on to my 'tween daughter, a budding nature photographer. Her grasshopper picture reminded me, today, of Mary Oliver's beautiful poem, "The Summer Day," fitting for the last Poetry Friday post of summer 2012.

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

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.

Read the rest at Poetry 180.

Photo Credit: Julia Shovan

It's cold enough for a hoody in Maryland this morning. Enjoy the last of the summer poetry posts at Random Noodling. Thanks to Diane Mayr for hosting!


Tabatha said...

I love those photos of Julia's!! (Of course, also Mary Oliver.) Is Julia entering Reflections this year with some photos? I hope so.

Renee LaTulippe said...

Laura, I'm so impressed with your daughter's bug photography! Although I'm not a big fan of bugs touching me or bugging me, as it were, I do find them fascinating. And I like how Mary Oliver goes from ruminating about the grasshopper's complicated eyes to turning HER complicated eyes on US, and putting us on the spot like that. :)

Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem. Alas, so long, summer.

Author Amok said...

Hi, Tabatha. As far as I know, our middle school is not active in the Reflections program. I will mention it to Julia, thought. What's the theme this year?

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Renee. You are so right about the turn in the poem. Craft-wise, I am interested in Oliver's use of questions in this poem.

Amy LV said...

This poem is one of my favorites; I love how it causes me to pause. Just like summer, I suppose. Thank you for pairing it with your daughter's photos - she, too, is wonderful at looking closely through her lens! Those bugs have expression! a.

Joyce Ray said...

This is one of my favorite Oliver poems. The last lines shock me out of complacency and get me moving:

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"

Kudos to the young nature photographer in your life. Keep it up, Julia!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Great bug photos! I enjoying photographing insects too - they are truly fascinating. Love that Mary Oliver too.

Author Amok said...

Amy, it's great to hear from you! This is an all time favorite poem for me -- I think for many people. It speaks to something really deep and universal. You're right about Julia's lens. She has an amazing way of seeing with her camera.

Author Amok said...

Joyce and Andi, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad there are some other bug-lovers out there in PF land. I will pass your compliments on to Miss Julia.

jama said...

I like observing bugs from afar :). Great photos and always nice to read Oliver's iconic poem. Summer seemed too short this year.

Michael Ratcliffe said...


Great poem. It brought back childhood memories of summer evenings in the fields at the University of Maryland's farm off Folly Quarter Road, where my father, who is an entomologist, had alfalfa plots. My sister and I would run through the fields while he swept for weevils as part of his research. When I was big enough he taught me how to hold and swing the net back and forth-- sweeping-- so that the weevils fell off the plants and into the net so we could then count them.

Linda B said...

I love this for several reasons, the final line of course, but it's one of the few poems that I know that really seems to revel in the fineness of a grasshopper, to share a kinship. Mary Oliver is very fine indeed. Thank you!

Tabatha said...

The theme is "The Magic of a Moment." You might be able to submit her entry even if her school isn't participating, as long as their PTSA is in good standing.

Mary Lee said...

I'm going to print off this poem for the gang of third grade grasshopper hunters who share their catches with me at recess and then turn them loose to live another day.

Author Amok said...

Hi, Mike. Well, I call you lucky to have an entomologist for a parent! I think you have a poem somewhere in that net of weevils.

Author Amok said...

Thanks for the info, Tabatha.

Mary Lee, let me know how the kiddos like the poem. I remember catching grasshoppers at recess round-about third grade. Not a bad way to spend your free half hour!

Ruth said...

One of my favorite poems! Thank you!

Mary Lee said...

Actually, I just followed the link to Poetry 180. I forgot where that poem when after the grasshopper. I won't share it with the 3rd graders, but I'll think it as I watch them catch and observe grasshoppers.