Thursday, 12 July 2012

Day 21: Wild Geese

Here is a poem beloved by many the world over.

Because it is a poem that provides us with instructions on how to live. How to really live. In simple and sensuous language. 

It is both the consolation and confirmation that we need at times. We belong. We are as much a part of this world as it is of us. And we owe it to ourselves to enjoy it, to be fully engaged in our own lives. It's a poem that parts the veil of vagueness around us, around our muddied views of life, into a pure heart-thumping certainty, an essential translucent truth. 

'Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination' and poetry is the ideal canvas for wonderful and varied imaginings of the world. Read it to witness the world in glorious 3D and colour, alive, buzzing, beautiful, and benevolent. And ultimately, yours.

Wild Geese - 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.


  1. I love it Siobhan.The humanity of us all

  2. I love this one too! I'm just discovering Mary Oliver, and I believe she is very recently deceased? That was where I discovered her, mentioned on FB on an obituary. Is there room on the blog archive on the right hand side of the page to include a poet's name beside their poem? I am only learning new poets, and would enjoy learning their names better. Carmel

  3. Hi Carmel - glad you like Mary Oliver! No, she's still alive most certainly! She's one of America's most popular poets, been compared to Emerson a lot and even won a Pulitzer Prize for one of her collections.

    The blog archive lists the title of the posts, not the poems - as I've titled the posts on the general theme/subject-matter of the poems... If you scroll below, you'll see a list of all the poets I've included so far, and click on them to see their poems.


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