The Summer Day
by 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.
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?
First published in House of Light (Beacon Press, 1990)
I love this poem. I think it captures the essence of summer: having idle time to contemplate the wonders of the world. I hope that you are finding the time to do just that during these last few weeks of August.
Here are this week's additions to the GunBun Music Monday 2011 Playlist on Spotify:
"No Church In The Wild" - JAY Z, Kanye West & Frank Ocean from Watch The Throne
I wouldn't be worth my weight in wine if I didn't include a track from what will be one of the biggest albums of 2011. Jon Caramanica wrote an outstanding piece on Watch The Throne in the NY Times over the weekend and here's another thoughtful perspective on whether the album is worth the hype. FYI: You can listen to the entire album, for free, on Spotify.
"Sophia" - Laura Marling from A Creature I Don't Know
This English folk singer has had a very productive career in a short amount of time: her albums in 2008 and 2010 were both nominated for Mercury Prizes and she won the BRIT for Best British Female Artist and the NME Best Solo Artist awards this year. This track was recently released as a single from her upcoming album that she produced with Ryan Adams and Ethan Johns. Marling says that "Sophia" is "God's female counterpart...She was a woman who kept men in check and told them off for doing nasty things."
"Never Will Be Mine" - Rye Rye (featuring Robyn) from Never Will Be Mine - Single
The lyrics of this song take me back to my teenage self and long summer nights spent pining away for a boy. Rye Rye is a young rapper and dancer from Baltimore who will be releasing her first album in September and Robyn is an award winning musician from Sweden. This track is a takeoff of Robyn's original song, "Be Mine!" that was released in 2005. The video of their collaboration has been viewed over 3 million times on YouTube.
"Shuffle" - Bombay Bicycle Club from A Different Kind of Fix
I've been waiting for this song to show up on Spotify so that I could share it with you - I have been enjoying it all summer long. This band has a great story behind it: a group of friends at the age of 15 start playing together; they enter and win the Virgin Mobile "Road to V" competition; and one year later they are named by NME as one of the "hottest bands to come from North London for quite some time." Fast forward four years (with secondary school finally behind them) and this band continues to gain accolades. This track is from their upcoming third album, A Different Kind of Fix, to be released in late August on Island Records.
"So Fresh, So Clean" - OutKast from Stankonia
Last night I went out for dinner at A-Frame, one of my favorite restaurants here in Los Angeles. I love this place because it is not your typical dining experience: it's housed in a funky, renovated IHOP; you have to sit at communal tables and dine next to complete strangers; and there is always loud, rambunctious music playing. The food is some of the best that I have ever eaten but it's the music that I walked away remembering last night. They were playing a string of hip hop tunes that had me dancing in my seat and walking down memory lane. This one was my favorite - it's an oldie but a goodie. (This one's for you T).
Until next week...don't forget to sign up for Spotify.