Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, photo by Ken West

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

From Dream Work published by Atlantic Monthly Press

This photo of a family of Canadian Geese was taken by Ken West Iowa Landscape and Nature Photography. Ken West and his unique landscape photographs are featured on IPTV show Iowa Outdoors. For more on Mary Oliver see The Journey by Mary Oliver, with links to other poems and an interview with Maria Shriver.

Listen to “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver when she was interviewed by Krista Tippett On Being: Listening to the World.

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6 Responses to “Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, photo by Ken West”

  1. The Journey by Mary Oliver « The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, photo by Ken West […]

    Like

  2. Ken West and his unique landscape photographs are featured on IPTV show Iowa Outdoors « The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Iowan: Sizing Up Small Towns: Rethinking Success in Rural Iowa: Fairfield Thinks Inclusively Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, photo by Ken West […]

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  3. Nathanael Chawkin Says:

    Beautiful!

    Like

  4. Mary Oliver’s Summer Day is filled with wonder | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] poems: The Journey by Mary Oliver | Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, photo by Ken West | Varanasi by Mary Oliver in A […]

    Like

  5. Mary Oliver’s transcendent experience at the lake, put into words, might leave you breathless | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] these other lovely poems by Mary Oliver: Summer Day, Varanasi, Praying, Wild Geese, and The […]

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  6. The job of a poet — someone’s gotta do it! | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] you breathless.  Enjoy these other lovely poems by Mary Oliver: Summer Day, Varanasi, Praying, Wild Geese, and The […]

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