Thursday, October 1, 2009

high in the clean blue air


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

she read this one the other night. she was funny and quirky, touching and thoughtful, and so very kind and honest. it was a lovely night that felt very intimate even though there were just over 2000 other people listening along with us.

oh! i wanted to wish you happy october! & i just made this connection to the poem!


  1. "the world offers itself to your imagination" one of my favorite group of words ever. :)

  2. such wonderful words...and great picture.

  3. I have loved this poem for so long. How wonderful that you got to hear her read it!

  4. I would have loved to hear her read this- and, really, anything at all. She is a favorite, someone who always makes me nod as if I knew it already. Maybe I did.

    thinking of you this fine and rainy day.
    colors everywhere.
    I painted last night and thought of you as I just did it.


  5. i cannot wait to see her this coming wednesday (gonna have to get there early for a seat) -- she lives at the other end of the cape from me and i so want to have tea with her...out in amherst tomorrow, hoping to catch paradise...

  6. Your connection to Mary Oliver's poem is perfect! :) I wouldn't be able to resist framing her poem and hanging it next to your painting.

  7. Wow!! A friend of mine just copied this from a book for me last week! I couldn't believe it when I read it on your blog; I love it too.

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  9. this is one of my all time favorites of hers. Hearing her read it was beyond dreamy. Thank you for inviting me along. It was a wonderful evening!


  10. I really enjoyed reading this poem. Thank you for sharing it. I haven't seen Mary Oliver in person, I've only read her work. It must have been a wonderful night!


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