The above image is from: Quotes By Women
Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Ohio. As a young poet she was influenced by Edna St. Vincent Mallay and has received much critical acclaim over the years. “Known for its clear and poignant observations and evocative use of the natural world, Oliver’s poetry is firmly rooted in place and the Romantic nature tradition”, according to her bio on PoetryFoundation.org. “A prolific writer of both poetry and prose, Oliver publishes a new collection every year or two.”
The following poem was published in 1986.
Wild Geeseby 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.