Poet and writer Mary Oliver died last week, and there has been an outpouring of sadness on Twitter and Facebook over the loss of her full, long life. I have long enjoyed her poetry and essays, so thought I would share them today to eulogize this humble and amazing nature poet
My favourite poem of hers is – as it is for many others – “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 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.
Two more quotes stick in my mind:
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbably beautiful and afraid of nothing
as though I had wings.”Mary Oliver, Starlings in Winter
And one last one before I go:
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?Mary Oliver, The Summer Day
RIP Ms. Oliver.