You do not have to be good

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 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.

It’s not one of mine. I couldn’t even start to decide which of my small attempts at verse was worthy of being first. So I thought I’d start with this one, by Mary Oliver, instead. This is a poem I came across recently that really spoke to me. Okay, so it’s not the most technically-proficient, and it gets a bad press here: But I really love the idea of not getting hung up on being good. Hell, I’ve just spent six months and over a grand working that out in counselling! Just let your body do what makes it happy. You do not need to repent. The world is huge, you’re tiny… no one really cares what you do, it’s unlikely to be that important anyway.
It’s a great lesson to learn about writing too, and one which has lead me here. You don’t have to write works of art to be a writer… but you do have to write!!

This entry was posted in poetry.

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