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The Summer Day

Mary Oliver
Analysis by Claire Bacareza
I believe The Summer Day by Mary Oliver is a poem metaphorically
written about life and man kind. Proving how life is precious, fragile, and
wonderful, even by just paying attention to the little details. I think Oliver is
trying to say that life is short, but made more purposeful and meaningful
when youre able to soak in everything.
Oliver mentions a swan, black bear and grasshopper. ll three creatures
contrast each other, which I believe strengthens this poem. !wans are
graceful creatures and bears are the complete opposite. "he grasshopper is
complicated because it is di#erent from both the bear and swan. It can be
elegant and graceful in some ways, but violent in others, such as us humans.
"he grasshopper is a representation of a human because it is elegant by
$%oating away&, violent by $snapping its wings& and mysterious with its
$complicated eyes&.
$I dont know e'actly 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 though the (elds, which is what I have been
doing all day.& )ere, Mary Oliver is stating that appreciating and showing
respect to the smallest of *ods creatures, like the grasshopper, is praying
just as much as kneeling in prayer or praying at church. I believe what Oliver
is really saying here is that you can worship *od and life in other ways than
in prayer and church. +y enjoying what *od has created and appreciating
everything there is to o#er in the world, is what life is truly about. "he poem
is a metaphor for how us as humans are $blessed& with life. ,ike the
grasshopper, we are free to $stroll through the (elds&. $-oesnt everything
die at last, and too soon.& I believe she is trying to emphasi/e here, that it
was what we do before we die that matters, not the fact that everything
eventually dies.
+eginning and ending the poem with rhetorical 0uestions, I believe,
made the poem more powerful. I believe they allow readers to think and
open their minds before jumping into the poem. "hey also give readers a
chance to think about it from their own point of view. 1or e'ample, $2ho
made the world.& 3an be mentally answered as *od or the +ig +ang, or any
other reason depending on di#erent beliefs. I liked the fact that Oliver didnt
have this poem set up as a rhyming pattern, I think that wouldve weakened
the powerfulness of the poem. +y not rhyming, it almost symboli/es life as
not following a pattern. I believe the rhyming pattern in poems lightens the
mood and this poem has deep meaning after looking past the surface.
In conclusion, I believe the relevance of The Summer Day is to
remember how precious life is, and that its short when you forget to pay
attention to the little things. ,ike the grasshopper, we should life our lives
free and to the fullest.

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