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, Dream Work, Grove Atlantic Inc., 1986 & New and Selected Poems,
Beacon Press, 1992
This poem makes me wonder about the recurring desire to become “special” – to gain some recognition for our beauty and vitality. The last lines, “announcing your place in the family of things” pulls me back into the world – not different, not special. Just like this.
ah, lovely. Mary Oliver always has a way of collecting all things that are important to me and expressing them in fresh and startling ways. Thanks for this.
Soothing words for this Heart… I don’t have to be or do anything… e~x~h~a~l~e~ ~ ~ ~ Thank you…