Sunday, February 24, 2013

Writerly Wisdom

“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,
call to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.” 


  1. My goodness, Mary Oliver must be a very depressed person. I'm neither despairing nor lonely, and my imagination definitely isn't calling to me like wild geese about anything harsh and exciting.
    Actually, this poem makes me feel better about me! Life is good. Thanks! :-)

  2. Do you think it's depressing, Lexa? I think it's so joyful! The message that you can be who you are, share your troubles with someone to trust, live in the family of life...
    Poetry is wonderfully subjective, isn't it?

  3. You're right - poetry is subjective. All writing is subjective, don't you think? You can write about one theme and your readers will take away totally different things from it. I'm ashamed to say I don't understand most poetry. The poem in this post reminds me of Maya Angelou (who I don't understand either...) although I'm sure Mary Oliver would be happy to be compared to her. :-)