Photography by Choo Choo Love
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.
Mary Oliver has won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for her poetry. She is a Professor at Bennington College in Vermont.