MARY OLIVER just “gets it” doesn’t she? That’s why we keep coming back to her, again and again, when we long to make real prayer, when we long to make love. For Wisdom dwells in her – in the longing, that’s to say. And in the poet.
And today, for reasons that are obvious enough – my “soft animal body” having been intensely connected with Matthew’s this morning – Mary’s “Wild Geese” plays in my head and heart, over and over and over. Mary Oliver just gets it. Life, I mean. And love. Mary Oliver just gets it. And gives it – like all the poets do – to us …
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.