Two Mary Oliver Poems

Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver
I have two Mary Oliver poems I keep coming back to.

Here's one I sent to my daughter Treasure, who has a tendency to be hard on herself, and loves inspirational poetry. I dedicate it to her and all the women who do too much.

That used to be me.  Not so much now.  

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

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.

Aaaah!

The second one is Summer Day and here is Oliver reading it herself.

You'll find more of her poetry here. .

And can I also recommend to you her book about writing and reading poetry (in particular, metrical verse): Rules for the Dance.

Salema Moods: Three Short Poems

I. Ocean Pulse

Rising, curling, foam unfurling,
waves of cold Atlantic sea,

next one coming, meet it running,
plunge into the safe beneath.

Avoid crashing, hard sand-smashing
that could knock me to my knees.

Out here holding. Look I’m floating!
Blood-beat drumming in my ears.

Waves keep surging, endless burgeon
sent up from the darkest deeps,

surface playing, breath delaying,
I dive into your mystery,

always saying all to me.

II. Here is Where
I've been here
before but
now I’m here
for healing.

Twice times ill
with cancer
and its cure
here is where
I’ve come. Numb
beneath – or
should I say
beyond? – these,
my extremities.

I've been here
before but
now I’m here
for healing.

III. Seeing Eye

I’m rocked in salt arms: the ocean,
waves pillowing under my head.
The sky’s eye seems to wink open
to glint all I seek to reflect.
For one glittering, infinite instant
I can’t tell the fall from the swell.

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