lily

Lily, The Perfect Prayer

The Lily

Night after night
darkness
enters the face
of the lily
which, lightly,
closes its five walls
around itself,
and its purse
of honey,
and its fragrance,
and is content
to stand there
in the garden,
not quite sleeping,
and, maybe,
saying in lily language
some small words
we can’t hear
even when there is no wind
anywhere,
its lips
are so secret,
its tongue
is so hidden –
or, maybe,
it says nothing at all
but just stands there
with the patience
of vegetables
and saints
until the whole earth has turned around
and the silver moon
becomes the golden sun –
as the lily absolutely knew it would,
which is itself, isn’t it,
the perfect prayer?

~ Mary Oliverthe lily

Oh, how I love Mary Oliver and her tremendous ability to weave language and nature and wisdom into a braid of enlightenment.

Her poetry always appears when I need it, whispering to me to pay attention – to be here, now.

Mary Oliver makes me think – makes me work for it. I slide her words around my mouth, swallowing bit after bit of understanding until suddenly, it makes perfect sense.

The ‘patience of vegetables and saints’ – yes, yes, yes.

The perfect prayer.

The realization that I, too, can “lightly” close myself, wind up my thoughts and pain and joy inside and just be content to be here, now, with them, whispering solitary prayers for peace and hope and grace and courage… and patience. Breath. Calm.

And the deep, deep knowing that all will be well.

The blooms spring up overnight, gracing me with their glory, their fragility, and their contentment to just be, to grow, to bloom “until the whole earth has turned around and the silver moon becomes the golden sun.”

One day at a time.

One prayer at a time.

Thank you, Mary Oliver.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Pay Attention

Bastard-Schwertlilie (Iris spuria), Schwertlil...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It doesn’t have to be the blue iris,

it could be weeds in a vacant lot,

or a few small stones;

just pay attention,

then patch

a few words together and

don’t try to make them elaborate,

this isn’t a contest

but the doorway

into thanks,

and a silence in which

another voice may speak.

~Mary Oliver, “Praying”

I’ve shared Mary Oliver poetry before…I love, love, love her poetry, and this one seemed such a simple reminder.

Pay attention, be silent, listen, look up.

Take a moment to notice the beauty all around us. Pay attention.

All you need is already inside you – just look for it.

This post was inspired by writealm.com’s prompt-a-day for September |inside me|

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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What Is Prayer?

These months of spring and early summer shared their beauty and their pain, their hope for new beginnings and the sadness of lives ended-some with grace and dignity of a life well-lived, and some with the tragedy of a life not-yet-fully lived. For me, I find prayer in poetry, in words of writers who speak the words in my mind that cannot find their way to the page. Thank you, Mary Oliver, for your gifts so eloquently shared. Thank you for your prayer.
fields in Davis, CA
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
Poetry is prayer. With these words, I remember those who have moved on from this ‘wild and precious life’, saying a prayer for those they left behind. Dear reader, what is prayer to you? Where do you go to find comfort?
This post was inspired by writealm.com’s prompt-a-day for July.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

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