Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wild Geese

It turns out that one can read poetry while breast-feeding. I came across this one the other day and for some reason it keeps speaking to me. Can you guess which lines resonate with me?

It feels incredibly human to read poetry again. Iza will be ten-weeks-old tomorrow. Lucky girl, every Friday is her birthday. Soon I will have to give in and start counting by months. But for now, she is still small enough that each week she is a new baby with new challenges (for me) and new abilities (for her).

And here is the poem:

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.


Réka Albert said...

The line that resonated most with me is "Meanwhile the world goes on." Having a baby attunes you more to the world, and to the present. When I am walking with Agnes I mentally log every emerging flower and green patch of grass, and I feel enriched.

István Albert said...

only somewhat on topic, here are two intriguing titles:

I Love Being a Mom, I Just Hate Doing It (from a post on a babycenter community board)

I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids (actual book title)

J.K.Kelley said...

This is the line that caught my attention:

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

My little one teaches me that we love our babies from the soft animal part of us--a connection that is deeper than emotion.

I also liked the idea that despite our hardships and despair, the world goes on and eventually we can regain perspective by taking in the natural world--a realm in which our human problems are fleeting. When we are long gone, the geese will still be flying overhead. And by seeing the beauty in the pebbles and blue sky, we can see the beauty even in our despair.

J.K.Kelley said...

I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids (actual book title)

I love this book already!