We don't have to be the best.
Just do what we love best.
Wild Geese- 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.
Imagining a renewed role for poetry in the national discourse, and a new canon.
by Tony Hoagland.
Here are TONY HOAGLAND’S twenty poems: Twenty-First. Night. Monday., by Anna Akhmatova God’s Justice, by Anne Carson memory, by Lucille Clifton A Man and a Woman, by Alan Feldman America, by Allen Ginsberg Bamboo and a Bird, by Linda Gregg A Sick Child, by Randall Jarrell Black People & White People Were Said, by Kerry Johannsen Topography, by Sharon Olds Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car, by Dan Pagis Merengue, by Mary Ruefle Ballad of Orange and Grape, by Muriel Rukeyser Waiting for Icarus, by Muriel Rukeyser American Classic, by Louis Simpson The Geraniums, by Genevieve Taggard Song of Speaks-Fluently, by Speaks-Fluently Traveling Through The Dark, by William Stafford When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer, by Walt Whitman Our Dust, by C. D. Wright