Do You Hear the Call of the Wild Geese?

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.

For your musical enjoyment, here is “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” as played by George Winston from his great album “Linus & Lucy: The Music Of Vince Guaraldi.”


About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

6 Responses to “Do You Hear the Call of the Wild Geese?”

  1. Let me fly away with these geese. They know which way is up!

    michael j

  2. A very uplifting poem…thanks!

    • You’re most welcome. Mary Oliver is of my faves. By the way, you have quite a beautiful and unique site, in case no one’s mentioned that! 🙂 I’ve subscribed to your posts, and when I find time, will take a look at your poetry more closely.

      Best wishes,


  1. Mary Oliver, the Buddha and a poem called “Spring” « Metta Refuge - 2010/04/29

    […] Do You Hear the Call of the Wild Geese? […]

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