Updated: Apr 16
A very famous one, probably familiar to you all, from Mary Oliver. It seems to fit the moment well and I love revisiting it. I seem to do that a good deal with her work. They are like old friends.
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.
I love this piece, so very much. Drawn to age, I find myself wanting to explore it more and more in my art. I suppose that is what happens (perhaps always happens,) we look ahead to get ready for what, if we are lucky, is to come. I like getting older, the old things being stripped away. I kept his face in graphite for this very reason, leaving him with nothing but who he is, underneath the nice, colorful clothes.