Carrying on with our Queer Poets, we have next Mary Oliver*, Gentle Reader.
I know I’ve posted this piece of hers before, because it’s my favorite, but it’s well worth re-reading.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 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.
* Mary Oliver is well-known for her poetry, but less known for her queer identity – which makes sense, as she is pretty protective of her privacy, as is her right. She, and her partner of over 40 years, Molly Malone Cook, are still family, and I’m proud to celebrate her today.
This poem is used without permission, but please don’t sue me.