I Happen To Be Standing


This poem was written by Mary Oliver

I don't know where prayers go,

or what they do.

Do cats pray, while they sleep

half-asleep in the sun?

Does the opossum pray as it

crosses the street?

The sunflowers? The old black oak

growing older every year?

I know I can walk through the world,

along the shore or under the trees,

with my mind filled with things

of little importance, in full

self-attendance. A condition I can't really

call being alive

Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,

or does it matter?

The sunflowers blaze, maybe that's their way.

Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing

just outside my door, with my notebook open,

which is the way I begin every morning.

Then a wren in the privet began to sing.

He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,

I don't know why. And yet, why not.

I wouldn't persuade you from whatever you believe

or whatever you don't. That's your business.

But I thought, of the wren's singing, what could this be

if it isn't a prayer?

So I just listened, my pen in the air.

Photo Credit: from Mary Oliver's "The Summer Day" by Academy of American Poets is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Resized from original.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Google+ Social Icon
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White YouTube Icon

Sangha Without Borders is currently physically located in London, UK