Mary Oliver reading Wild Geese



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

31 thoughts on “Mary Oliver reading Wild Geese

  1. WILD GEESE (Correct version !)

    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.

  2. "Your place in the family of things" brings me so much relief and comfort.

  3. Poetry is not just words, but also the silent voice that speaks to our soul!

  4. Mary, i hope it's not to late to say i love you. Your poetry has moved my soul, and i will miss you. Rest in peace dear poet. Your words have put me in a better more meaningful place with myself.

  5. Not knowing her own poem by heart is so refreshing.It's how you read that counts.

  6. "You do not have to be good" is the best thing I've ever heard, and in this context, even better. Thanks Mary Oliver your poetry touched my soul; may yours rest in peace.

  7. Rest in light gentle spirt. Your gifts were a blessing to us all. <3

  8. Love you, Mary. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your words will be with us forever.

  9. So sad to hear of her passing. This poem has the rare power to change lives, and every time I return to it I feel something inside me is renewed. RIP Mary Oliver 1935-2019

  10. My favorite poem of all time. And today this amazing poet has passed. fly with the wild geese, Mary Oliver. Blessings to you…

  11. Wanted to get my wife a book of poems on life and loving as she exemplifies both. Not having really any knowledge of poets I just googled "poetry books on life and love" Mary Oliver was among the most popular names so i did some research. Amazing is all i can say. This woman writes exactly the way my darling wife thinks. So beautiful.

  12. Thank you for the time you spent to put your thoughts to words.

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