You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a thousand 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 clear 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.
by Mary Oliver
Here is the PDF of the score: Wild Geese
and here is a version with nine singers and a violinist–recorded at the Conseil des Arts de Montréal on October 27th, 2018.
(Allie Weigh, Krissi Campbell, Avery Gietz, Finn Upham, Chloé Génie, Gwenn Fritau, Catherine Harrison-Boisvert, Melanie Kerridge, Sara Breitkreutz, and Kali Halapau on violin)