Poem, Mary Oliver: “Wild Geese”

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of the Imagination.” — John Keats

Image: thesundaytimes.co.uk

Image: thesundaytimes.co.uk

 

“WILD GEESE”
by Mary Oliver

“Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine…”

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.

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3 Responses to Poem, Mary Oliver: “Wild Geese”

  1. Chenue Gill says:

    One of my most favorite poems!

  2. hyavision11 says:

    <3

  3. Kieron says:

    A favorite for years. I particularly love this line: “You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.” What a song of praise for self-acceptance and the long struggle we face to reach it! The greatest love of all is the hardest. I suspect Mary Oliver knows this.

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