From Wendell Berry’s poem “The Wild Geese” comes this steadying stanza:
…And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.
I found his poem in a new essay collection called Sustainable Happiness, edited by the staff of Yes! Magazine. It reminded me of my introduction to the poet Mary Oliver, whose poem “Wild Geese” begins:
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…
This was my first Mary Oliver experience years ago: having this poem recited just for me by my Rolfer while he worked the fascia of my feet to smithereens. (Rolfing is a super-intense type of bodywork that pairs well with poetry.)
I give you the lovely Mary Oliver, reading her poem.