Friday, February 02, 2007

(silent) poetry reading

Welcome to another Blogger's (silent) Poetry Reading. I first read about this from Kim, who read about it on Cara's blog, who refers to the original site. I'm all for it. The world needs more poetry reading.

Last night I started reading Terry Tempest Williams' book Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place (I'm a little chagrined that I haven't read it before. Isn't it required reading for anyone who lives in the Western United States? I'm pretty sure it is. I haven't actually gotten into the book yet since I had to read and re-read and then sit and think about this marvelous poem. End of aside.) Williams includes this poem as a preface.

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.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver

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