by Mary Oliver

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?

Started by Tony Deifell in 2002, Harvard Business School does a Student Portrait Project every year based off this poem. Pretty interesting. Many of the responses are not what you would expect from graduating Business School, ready to conquer the world students.

2 replies on “The Summer Day

  1. I adore this poem, and when I first learned of the HBS project I was very impressed. I've seen many of the answers and like you find them far different than people might expect. The whole endeavor makes me respect HBS more.

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