Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on.
Mary Oliver sure can wrangle them words. Wish that they were mine! Meanwhile the wild geese fly. Meanwhile I’m tapping out my words, my distress. Yes, I have been listening to someone’s despair again. Not that they would have call it such. But what would you call it – the losing of one’s identity, job, home, life partner?
I have no need of telling mine. I tap it out here on the page. It does me more good here than recounting out aloud to someone. Then I would be just begging. Oh, please, feel sorry for me. I have suffer so! I need no such sympathy or pity. It would only make me wallow deeper in my misery. I am listening to the tapping of my keyboard. The cadence is soothing on my frayed nerves. I’m comforting myself. I wonder if cutting or flagellating oneself have the same mechanism of relief. It’s good that I don’t have to physically hurt myself to do so.
There! I’m almost myself again – soothed and smoothed. I’ve listened to too much despair and sadness. I’m not willing to do so anymore. I will offer them Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese instead.
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.