Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Wild geese

There seems to be an invisible blanket between the world and me. This blanket, I believe, is named Grief. Grief is an odd dance partner. It changes its shape, and therefore you, every day. Today, lyrics and poetry are soothing to this maudlin person I've become. The particular poem below is one I've had tacked on the bulletin board in my office for years. Since first reading, I've been deeply fond of it, affected by it, if you will, and I've even shared it with special people in my life when they were in pain, hoping that it might soothe them. After reading it again, I'm sure it must have, because it helps me now.

Wild Geese

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

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