I have just been on a retreat weekend and this poem by Mary Oliver was read to us. It could be used well on its own at the beginning of a weekend away or at any retreat day or it could be used alongside this video and song from Pink Martini.
The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
New and Selected Poems, Beacon Press
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 her with 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 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?