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 your 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 clear 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.


Annie put this poem on my fridge one day and I found it again yesterday and read it. It moved me. How often do we really let the world offer its imagination to us? How often do we embrace the beauty and diversity and the million little things in the world that make it our own? How often do we focus on being good and our failures instead of embracing the fact that we are loved in spite of ourselves? We belong. We have a place here. We have a Dream to live and a mission to embrace. If our purpose was over, we would be home, not still on this earth. So listen to the whisper of the Creator on the wind and be willing to truly live the life He has given you…with all of the pain and hurt, it is still a beautiful thing.