Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wild Geese

Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Poem from Mary Olivers book, 'New and Selected Poems. 

I'd never heard of Mary Oliver before, but she's a Pulizter winning poet and seems to we well known in the US.  Her work has themes around nature, renewal, grief, loss and death. I often think I'm not a poetry-person, but Oliver's work is so profound and there's great depth in each of her sentences that it draws me in. What a talent it is to be able to express so much within a few short lines.  Hope you enjoy this.

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