Saturday, February 16, 2008

What's with the name of this blog?

This excerpt in my title is from one of my (and many others') favorite poems, by one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver. Here's the entire poem, probably her most well-known:

Wild Geese
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 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.

This poem has comforted me for many years, ever since my friend Karen first quoted the first stanza to me in, oh, 2003. I thought it was a great title for this blog because with this move I have returned home after 18 years in the New York diaspora and it gives me a focus.

Is all that obvious? Probably. But I've been meaning to post the complete poem for ages and here's a reason to do so.

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