Treasure Island

Alison Cassidy

(6th August,1945 / Melbourne, Australia)

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 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.

Submitted: Monday, May 22, 2006
Edited: Monday, May 22, 2006

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Comments about this poem (Wild Geese by Mary Oliver by Alison Cassidy )

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  • Mike Frelk (9/14/2009 9:31:00 PM)

    The poem brings out the best of your imagination. You can imagin every discription of the poem. The poem makes you think about the good things in life, and even though you might be in dispair; the sun will still be shining, and the world will always be turning, and do what you love to do. Ultimatly you should always look on the bright side of life, and you always have a place in the world, and that you were put on this earth for a reason. (Report) Reply

  • Sal Gard (9/14/2009 9:28:00 PM)

    The world is both good and bad. But we are a part of it and we can not sit on the side. Sometimes we see the evil and decide to hide. That we can not do. We have to be strong and try to make a difference. We have to do something no matter how small it seems, is actually big. Great poem. Hopefully I understood it right (Report) Reply

  • Lucio Hernandez (9/14/2009 9:27:00 PM)

    I feel a big connection with this poem because i share the the same thoughts with the author. this poem is wise and hopeful, it encourages us to look for a distraction when we have problems. being sad will not change anything.there is a lot of good things out there that can make us feel better about our despair. As she said, the world goes on, sometimes i feel depressed and most of the time i find a disctaction in nature that's why i feel connected to this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Larry Davenport (9/14/2009 9:26:00 PM)

    John spoke of the 'tone' of the laungage. I feel that his comment speaks of how poetry touches the reader. (Report) Reply

  • Julie Jennings (9/14/2009 9:24:00 PM)

    I like this poem becasue its a reminder that no matter what despair you go through the world goes on. You can be stuck in the same place in time on the same issue but the world is still functioning waiting for you to rejoin. The world can be an outlet to rid you of dispair. No matter how ugly we may see the world as it has much more beauty to offer that goes unseen. I agree with brian when he mentions that everyone gets caught up in peoblems and this poem hopefully, helps people to realize that sometimes you have to look at the greater picture. (Report) Reply

  • Cris Smith (9/14/2009 9:19:00 PM)

    I would like to comment on Patricia's comment. I completely agree with the wise and almost ancient sentiment. It has a quality of the reverent type. It worshiping the nature in it's description of it. While it still make you connect by saying we are in that family. It tells of the despair that some feel when they do not realise the connection to all things. Once you realize the circle of life and nature and how you are part of it you are secure in your place. It make me feel not so lonely. It makes the worry of today not seem so significant in the whole sceme of things. (Report) Reply

  • Larry Davenport (9/14/2009 9:18:00 PM)

    I feel this poem speaks to most everyone. It says that we should not let the issue's that come up in day to day life bog us down. Sometime's we can become over-whelmed by our problems, letting life pass us by. It reminds me of an old adage, 'Don't sweat the small stuff'. (Report) Reply

  • Brian Mooney (9/14/2009 9:13:00 PM)

    This is a great poem, because everyone feels despair. However, you have to remeber that your problems will not change the course of the world, and the world will keep spinning. The hardest thing for most people to do is look past their problems and see the beauty that really lies within this great Earth. Everyone gets caught caught up problems, but for me this poem reminds me that there are bigger things out there then the problems we face.
    I agree with everyone this poem is absolutely amazing. Also, I completely agree with joesph, I am looking forward to more to come. (Report) Reply

  • Megan Sprague (7/18/2007 5:23:00 PM)

    I read this poem for the first time over ten years ago. It is still a completely amazing, perfect poem. (Report) Reply

  • Patti Masterman (5/26/2007 6:37:00 PM)

    Wow, this is so wise and seems almost ancient. I think some midnight
    ceremony with incense, candles, and chanting must have been involved in this.. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Daly (6/12/2006 8:12:00 AM)

    This has a magic to it, so much so that it even encaptured Jefferson. The pacing of this is great: a slowness that draws out the words in each line. You write free (open) verse very well alison. I look forward to seeing more. (Report) Reply

  • Zoe Smith (6/12/2006 6:53:00 AM)

    Alison, that is a superb poem. It brings tears to my eyes. I adore it. Stunned silent without even a poetic word to utter about it. Thank you for sharing it.

    eliza (Report) Reply

  • Will Barber (5/22/2006 10:06:00 PM)

    Joseph Campbell took a few hundred pages trying to warn us this poem would migrate to our shores. And yet - eek! - we're still surprised when the Wild Geese show up in the neighborhood. Especially since they're flying up from the underworld with a Hero(ine) 's message.

    Absolutely wonder- full.

    Love,
    Will (Report) Reply

Read all 15 comments »

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