Wild Geese.

September 13, 2009

I have a friend going through a hard time right now. It is so hard to see someone suffer. This summer, I had many people share words of encouragement (and much, much more) with me when I was struggling. One example was a poem typed out on a beautiful, bright orange card, which I still keep close to me. Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. I had read it before, but never had it moved me so much. I hope it can help someone else.

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.


  1. whoa - this is my favorite poem. I just looked it up last night to include it in a card to a friend (cue twilight zone music)! I read it in high school and have had it in my heart for going on 20 years.

  2. I love that you include poetry in your blog. Very moving... not too many years ago, i also went through a rough time. Wish this poem would have crossed my path then. It's just perfect.

  3. I've never seen this lovely poem before. I hope these words help your friend. :(

  4. i'm moved. kinda needed this today. thanks for sharing.

  5. Oh, that is so beautiful. I needed that right now.

  6. This really helped me today. Thank you. Hoped it helped your friend as well.


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