Wild Geese

Wild Geese

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 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.

© Mary Oliver

**Italics are mine.

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4 Responses to Wild Geese

  1. Jovanna says:

    “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves…” It’s so simple really, isn’t it? Thank you for this beautifully written reminder.

  2. Janice says:

    So simple and yet so difficult.
    I love this poem.
    Thanks for starting my day off with it!

  3. Melanie Marx says:

    This has been one of my favorite poems for years. Got me out of some tough places and into better. Thanks for sharing it!

  4. Deb Reynolds says:

    Janice and Jovanna, Simple and hard seem to go hand in hand, don’t they? Kind of like paying attention to our breath….. so simple, so ongoing. The reminders in poems like this help me to keep coming back, again, and again.
    Melani…… it is timeless, isn’t it? The Mary Oliver way of seeing things…..

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