It is that time of year again. It is always some time of year, it is always again. This time, in this moment, we are approaching Thanksgiving, the Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah; we are approaching the season of giving thanks, and of clinging to the hope that light will come again into our lives, our world. At moments like this, I often take solace in the poetry of Mary Oliver. Wild Geese is one of my most favoritest poems by her. It is already all over the web, so I hope to high heaven I am not breaking too many copyright protections in reposting it here for you all to enjoy! Maybe you can take it as an invocation to go and check out one of her books from the library? Or maybe even head over to your independent bookstore and buy one for yourself?
“Wild Geese,” by Mary Oliver from New & Selected Poems (Harcourt Brace).
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.
And, here is a UTube Link to Mary Oliver herself reading Wild Geese and a couple of other poems: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnaP7ig69go