A good friend has been sending me a poem almost every day. I wrote this one, by Mary Oliver, into my journal entry this morning, and then I wanted to share it with you. I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer (my family has been doing a lot of praying and hymn singing, and we’re getting ready to do us some more!), and reading this poem kind of affirmed the rightness of it all.
I don’t have a copy of this poem, in a book, I mean, and it’s represented variously on the Internet, so I apologize for any weirdness in these beautiful lines.
I Happened To Be Standing
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.
To hear Mary Oliver read her poem, visit this blogpost at On Being.