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When I Am Wise

I am not sure which Mary Gray wrote this poem. I found it, enjoyed it, and wanted to share it with others.

The poem has a Mary Oliver quality to it. Something speaks to us when we give it time and space. When we listen carefully, the wind blows through the grass giving its a voice we hear when we slow down resting our head on the ground. Humbling ourselves, we are closer to the voices of small things, the dankness of humus (the root word for human and humility), and the friendliness of weeds in our life.

As children, we often forgot our names losing ourselves in precious moments in a world larger than we were. It enveloped us and everything it revealed was wondrous. We recall running with outreached hands into the world, its silence, its disarray, and the inviting of small things in the grass which were more at our level. I remember the ladybugs, spiders, ants, etc. which were smaller than I was, entranced by them and by all that was immense. It was in those moments I was wise as I listened in ways that sometimes escape me as an adult.

When I am wise in the speech of the grass,
I forget the sound of words
and walk into the bottomland
and lie with my head on the ground
and listen to what grass tells me
and small places for wind to sing,
about the labor of insects,
about shadows dank with spice,
and the friendliness of weeds.

When I am wise in the dance of grass,
I forget my name and run
into the rippling bottomland
and lean against the silence which flows
out of the crumpled mountains
and rises through slick blades, pods,
wheat stems, and curly shoots,
and is carried by wind for miles
from my outstretched hands.

About ivonprefontaine

I have been an educator for almost 20 years. Prior to that, I worked in private industry for 15 years, then returned to university to earn my education degree. For the past 11 years, I have been a co-creator of learning in a unique, progressive, alternative educational school of choice. Currently, I am engaged in a doctoral program at Gonzaga University in Spokane. A main theme in my learning there has been the roles of systems thinking, complexity theory, and organizational theory, and how they apply to education generally and the learning environment I share with students, parents, and colleagues.

17 responses »

  1. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Reply
  2. So beautiful! I had to read it several times to internalize every word. It has so many simple messages.

    Reply
  3. This reminds me of myself when I was a child and now. I think I got busy somewhere in between with all sorts of nonsense. Thanks for always sharing such beauty in words.

    Reply
  4. A wondrous poem, thank you.

    Reply
  5. Achingly beautiful!

    Reply
  6. You are right. There are messages hidden from easy sight. I found that was an appealing part of this poem.

    Reply
  7. This is an incredible poem, and I adore your introduction to it. Yes when we were little, following the antics of beetles and marveling at clouds, we were wise. This post helps me to remember that wisdom. And the poem touches me so deeply it brightens my eyes with tears. Thank you Ivon. Blessings, Gina

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Tears of Gratitude | Professions for PEACE

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