(Silent) Poetry Reading

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 your 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.

It’s time for the fifth annual Bloggers’ (Silent) Poetry Reading, AKA Cyberspace Poetry Slam — one of my favorite connections in this big little world, and I’ve participated each year. I borrowed this poem from the delightful Reya, and I don’t think she will mind. It seems I’m usually carrying around snippets or poems or bits of wisdom that I find on her blog. Sometimes my pockets overflow! Thank you, sister!

9 thoughts on “(Silent) Poetry Reading

  1. this is one of my favorite poems, ever. I think I even used it a few years back for the poetry slam. Thanks for posting it and reminding me.My other favorite Mary Oliver: "Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"God, I love her.Hugs to you 😀


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