Wild Geese

Sometimes introverts need to have their introversion validated; to be told that it’s okay to wrap themselves up in the soft comfort of solitude, to talk only to the few people they want to and take a break from the rest of the world, to stare out at the long horizon and feel all the things that had been piling up spread out, thinning. Snow covers the hills in the distance and the clouds hang low over them, blurring the boundary between earth and sky.

I don’t like poetry as a rule, but I do like this one. And despite my reputation to the contrary, I do have a certain fondness for geese.

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.
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