Sunday Poem | “Wild geese”, by Mary Oliver

This Sunday Poem invites you to explore the verses from one of the most acclaimed contemporary American poets, Mary Oliver, and the poem I’ve chosen for today is “Wild Geese”.

As I was recounting the ways in which I arrived at this point of my creative journey, of which I have written more here and here, I started thinking about all those moments I feared losing this part of my life, this part where I’m putting my words out there in the world and creating a safe place for myself, a place to belong in.

There were times when I would sit in front on my desk and stare at the screen, or browsing the internet for inspiration, or losing my head and focus in the whirlpool of other people’s ideas and opinions. In those times it was when I felt the fear the most, the despair, the sadness, the giving-up feeling. I had a disquieting state of unworthiness and continuous self-judgement.

In reality, it was just my soul asking for some understanding, patience and, most of all, love.

This Sunday Poem invites you to explore the verses from one of the most acclaimed contemporary American poets, Mary Oliver (1935–2019).

I came upon the poetry of Mary Oliver many times in the past few years and I was really saddened when she passed away last year. She had this depth and simplicity mixed so beautifully together, forever inspired by the natural world, only to find meanings for the way human spirit works.

The poem I’ve chosen for today is “Wild Geese”, a friendly reminder that, even in our darkest times, when we feel unworthy, there’s a world out there for us to observe and take part of, a world filled with inspiration that is waiting for us to acknowledge, a world where we could find our soul’s peace whenever we lose it. It is a poem, as Ruth Franklin puts it, “which offers a consoling vision of the redemption possible in ordinary life” (The New Yorker 2017).

I hope you enjoy reading it and find your own sense of understanding it 🙂

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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.

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