A week ago I rediscovered a poem by Mary Oliver. It was a poem I already knew, but this time it held a different meaning for me: I was letting my body love what it loves. So I went home and started working on this piece.
Two days ago, Mary Oliver died. And I am grateful to whatever cosmic force guided me, I am grateful for the opportunity to hold her words close again, I am grateful her words found me when I needed them.
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.
WILD GEESE, by Mary Oliver, 1986.