Poetry Sunday: Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

I guess I've been in a Mary Oliver frame of mind recently. I seem to turn to her poetry often. I especially like this one.

The wild geese are returning to their winter home here on the prairies and wetlands of Southeast Texas. When I am outside, I sometimes hear their voices now as they fly "high in the clean blue air" and I think about that last passage in this poem:
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.

Wild Geese

by 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 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.

Comments

  1. That is so beautiful! A friend of mine brought Mary Oliver to my attention after she died recently and I still have to get a volume of her works. Based on the little I have read she is sans pareil. This one really strikes a chord with me, tugs at the wellsprings of my being.

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  2. I liked the first few lines! Tomorrow we are off on another road trip, this time to the woods and hills of Marin County. Hopefully it will be more humid with better air than here, though those fires farther north are worrisome. I hope to spend a few days reading as much as I can and walking in the woods. I'll listen for the geese.

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    Replies
    1. That sounds like a lovely trip and one that Mary Oliver would have enjoyed!

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    2. The trip did not happen. Fires across the bay caused widespread power outages! So I am home reading Dorothy Dunnett.

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    3. Oh, I'm sorry. I do hope there is some relief from all the wildfires soon. Meanwhile, enjoy Dorothy.

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