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  • a poem for the fall equinox

    Living in the Pacific Northwest, it seems as if there are certain poets who are especially cherished, certain poems that are handed on among readers. Mary Oliver is one of those poets, and this poem one of those poems.

    The Journey

    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.