Lynn Schoener 

August 2nd, 2012

Coaching Creatively

 Poetry as a Coaching Tool


Sharing the right poem at the right time with a coachee is a way to speak and listen to the heart. The poem below can be a catalyst for someone who is in the question of purpose, who has allowed the to-do's of life to take over, at the expense of balance, breathing room, and attention to what matters most. 



The Summer Day

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?


from New and Selected Poems, 1992 

Beacon Press, Boston, MA

Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver.
All rights reserved.



For years, I knew only the last two lines of this poem, and would quote it at workshops for people in transition. It never failed to resonate. Only last summer did I discover that the sentence was part of a larger poem. If you would like to hear the poet read her work, click the YouTube link below. 


Mary Oliver reads "The Summer Day" 



Happy August!




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