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mother of josh, richard, and mutt. lover of books, yarn, and the quiet places. spinner, knitter, kayaker, survivor, vandweller, warrior.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

flying 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 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."
wild geese - mary oliver

4 comments:

Carrot said...

I love that poem. I even thought about having a few lines of it tattoo'd on me.

LoveRise said...

One of my favorite poems Kate. I love that you are blogging and what you are sharing. I was reminded of this poem when I read the one you shared. You may know it.

Warmly,

Laurie

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.



© Mountaindreaming, from the book The Invitation published by HarperSanFrancisco, 1999 All rights reserved

kate said...

tara- that's a good idea, i carry a copy of it with me at all times to read when i'm feeling the need for a little forgiveness.

laurie- thank-you for that poem, it is perfect for the day i'm having today. i've not heard it before....is that mary oliver also? it has her voice.

and laurie, when i copy someone elses poetry, should i have that little copyright blurb at the bottom?

LoveRise said...

Kate the poem is by Oriah Mountain Dreamer who is an amazing philosopher/author. She has a few soul searching books out. I've seen her speak in person several times and she's always an inspiration with many insights to share.

As for the copyright notice, it sure couldn't hurt:-)

Looking forward to more poetry and van pics!

Until then...celebrate life!

Laurie