In sad news, Mary Oliver died last week. I didn’t know her but I cried anyway. So many actors and musicians that I have loved have died over these past few years and I acknowledged their passing and didn’t cry one bit. I love the poetry of Mary Oliver. I think I cried for her because her passing caused a huge swell of feeling to rise in me—like a giant shot of all her most beautiful words at once, straight to the heart. The creator of all those words that have brought me all these feelings has left the theatre. But lucky us, her words are still here.

The Summer Day
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?
—Mary Oliver

That last line slays me every time. What do you plan to do? I plan to let my heart crack open and to love. Because what else should I do? What else can we do?

~Elfy, 1-23-19

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