On Praying

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Photo by Sravan Reddy Sane on Pexels.com

“I Happened To Be Standing”

by Mary Oliver

I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance.  A condition I can’t really
call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep.  Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t know why.  And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t pursuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don’t.  That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.

selective focus photo of house wren perched on white birdhouse
Photo by Tom Mann on Pexels.com

One thought on “On Praying

  1. Thank you Anita. I’m praying a lot these days. I miss you and hope you are well. Thank you for these posts. Thank you for your strength and love. I returned to this pastel the other day, I think because I miss the desert so much. I hope to be there again with you. Lots of love. Maureen

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