Mary Oliver

HPIM0832
Poetry
By
Mary Oliver

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.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver

rest

the journey has been overwhelming
the road long and arduous
with pitfalls
and wrong turns taken
only to double back
to crossroads and bad directions

maps scribbled quickly
on the back of my hand
and instructions
both kindly given and some
not so much

straight and narrow paths
stumbling blocks and rocky roads
have led me here
right now
to a place
if not smooth
at least well paved with good intentions

I will release this burden
kick off these dusty boots
and rest here for a while