I have loved this poem by Mary Oliver ever since I first saw it reproduced in some newspaper. I cut it out and kept it. Loren Webster has some interesting things to say about Mary Oliver's poetry here. I really must read more of her work. This poem - I think it's quite a well known one of hers - explores that perennial theme of human alienation from yet connection with nature which I've touched on in some recent posts.
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.