Sunday, 27 December 2009

Wild Geese

Wild Geese

by 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.

I took these photos last Sunday, walking by a frozen lake, in the late afternoon half-light with M and the dogs. Whilst uploading them this poem came to mind, that I had read in an anthology some time ago and all but forgotten. It is a little melancholy perhaps, but I think there is beauty in it, and hope too, and it just seemed to fit.


  1. A perfect fit. The poem is new to me and I like it very much. Geese create interesting patterns when flying. A beautiful post. Happy New Year.