Soul Salve

I don’t have all the words I need sometimes, to comfort or soothe myself or others when things are rough, when I’m in pain or they’re in pain, so I turn to others who have spoken the words I need. We were just talking about Mary Oliver, after Julie so delightfully expressed some of her words. Mary Oliver has written a poem that is a salve when my soul is wounded…it was a gift to me from a friend when I was 24, and dealing with the pains of becoming an adult. I want to share it with you all here, as a gift from Mary, and from me, as a soul salve.

Wild Geese, 1926, by Ohara Shoson

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

With Love,

Cuore Della Luna


5 thoughts on “Soul Salve”

  1. All pain and despair fades away as we fly with the wild geese on the wings of these soulful words…

    Thank you for sharimg this poem and letting our imagination fly to that place and beyond,

  2. Kristina!

    What a lovely image to match one of my favorite poems. You are so fortunate to have a wise friend who shared this with you at 24. I was in my mid-forties before I discovered the healing salve of the soul poets.

    Mary Oliver speaks for me when I am without words – and her words crack my heart open.

  3. thank you della lu luna, for this piece of Oliver’s. She has the knack of capturing a moment, a nuance that is unmistakable.

    This was perfect for the mood I was in, thank you so much!


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