Inspiring women: Mary Oliver

Last night I didn't think I'd blog today at all. Once in awhile I come home and the thought of blogging seems too much. But the minute I think of giving myself a free pass, I feel guilty. Yesterday, between resignation and motivation, I opened this poem by Mary Oliver and decided to share it with you.

I love the equal measures of deep introspection and joyful release in Oliver's poetry. It makes me think again about what I wrote about Joan Mitchell. And I wonder again if that simultaneous inward/outward vision is what empathy is comprised of. Surely, that's what stops those who feel alienated from becoming completely solipsistic; creating those fine threads of connection, that sense of being-in-the-world.


I tend towards solipsism in dark moments. Other people and all their complexities seem unfathomable, unreal even, to me. But even then I know that the very act of writing (and blogging even) is my wild goose call. I write because I want to be reassured of my place in the family of things.

Wild 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.

Books:
Swan: Poems and Prose Poems
Thirst: Poems
Why I Wake Early: New Poems
New and Selected Poems: Volume One

New and Selected Poems, Volume Two
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