Life and Living

out of the blue: some thoughts inspired by the poetry of mary oliver

I cannot explain why

the words came to me as I drove today.

‘You do not have to be good’

And then a second time,

You do not have to be …

something I couldn’t recall

but further on, I knew it was about the wild geese

that call to you…

I repeated them until

I came to the fullness of them, knowing only 

that they were words of

 mary oliver, called Wild Geese.

Here they are: 

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.

and all the while, I felt an urging to give them my

own meaning, my own version.

Here it is.

Forgive me for this blatant plagiarism and possible copyright infringement.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to bear the burdens
for a hundred years of this place repenting.
You only have to let the sad cry of your soul
love what it loves.
Tell me about worries, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the mist lying deep in the valley  
moves across to the mountains,
over the homesteads and the homeless,
Towards the mountains and the sky.
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.
out the car window on the highway

1 thought on “out of the blue: some thoughts inspired by the poetry of mary oliver”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s