WILD GEESE

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.

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