May 20, 2013

you do not have to be good

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.
Wherever 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


This is my favorite poem. The calm it brings does not last much past the reading of it, if I am truly distressed, but when I need to I'll read it over and over and over until it sticks.

1 comment:

  1. That's lovely. I love Mary Oliver. I've been reaching out to a poem by Charles Bukowski, The Laughing Heart. "There's a light somewhere. It may not be much light, but it beats the darkness." On the harder days, I remind myself that even a little light helps.