I finally got a new Mary Oliver book from the library. She is a very long time love of mine, I am pretty sure she has gone directly into my soul and plucked out the poems I would write myself, if I had the words.

Her poems are prayers, balm. I have been doling out a few of them to myself every morning, to live my day by. Here is one of my first favorites, one of her more famous poems, for every reason.


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

5 thoughts on “Balm

  1. Geese are moving here already. Low 40’s overnight. Chlorophyll disappearing right and left from all things leafy. My daughter likes Mary Oliver’s poetry.

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