Saturday, January 2, 2016

Wild Geese...

Today in yoga class Denice read Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.  This poem has flitted in and out of my life over the years. I first heard it when Jan Haag read it in our creative writing class at Sac City College many years ago. I had taken that class just as an easy way to get some units for my continuing credit for my teaching credential and it turned out to be a key turning point in bringing me back to writing.  Then I heard the poem a other times and most lately a few times in yoga classes at It's All Yoga. Seems a lot of yoga teachers like Mary Oliver poetry.  And again this morning, my first yoga class of the New Year and Denice read it to the class. I figured it was time I posted it so I would have it at my fingertips:
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 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.

And HERE is Mary Oliver reading the poem.


  1. Oh, such a beautiful poem. I had to read it over and over. Thank You

  2. I think the first time I heard Mary Oliver's poetry and it resonated for me so much that I remembered it was over eight years ago at the San Francisco Shambhala Center when it was on Taraval. Since then, I have heard her with awareness in yoga classes and at meditation retreats. And, I saw many of her books at Redwoods Monastery. The first poem I heard was The Journey and the second was The Sunflowers. Thank you for reminding me.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Kathryn! I am always amazed when I see the influence of this poem and Mary Oliver in not only the yoga world but in general. And to think a few years ago I had no idea who she even was! Thanks for stopping by!


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