Today I was sent a poem, a good one. It’s part of the Sadhana, so I’m taking a little time with it today, sitting with the words and their qualities. This morning it feels like the wording is marked on my heart.
Good poetry is like that, plucking at something inside you until you quiver. Yesterday’s lesson reminded me that the white flower doesn’t wish to be red, it would be a waste of its time. Today that lesson continues with 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.
It occurs to me that while I’m working at freeing up my perceptions of this world that the wild place inside my body, that soft animal, is still comparing itself to the other animals.
It’s been so very long since I was free of comparison, shame for not being better at things, smarter, nicer, thinner … when was it I transform into a ‘civilized’ being and how do I let the animal back out?