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The Words of Mary Oliver

February 24, 2012

This morning I was laying are my MRS 2000+ mat getting giving myself a lengthy treatment to heal my sore aching body from the spill I had taken on my bike a few days earlier. I had my ear buds in place for the jouney:) and was listening to poems by Mary Oliver. Sometimes others can express things in a way that is so utterly perfect beyond how we can express them ourselves and this is one of this times. Here the entire poem.

The words that grabbed me and moved me the most were:

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.

I have a number of friends who are going through rather rocky times right now. One who is very bright – like a very goregous sun beam, yet his pain is so great it is making it difficult for him to find the type of job he wants right now.  I have another friend who is heart broken because the woman she wanted to spend her life with – didn’t work out becaue the pain of being together was great than breaking up.

Since my diagnosises of multple sclerosis, I have witness many of my friends experience difficult things. It reminds me that I am not alone in this world with my own emotional pain, saddness and grief. We all experience it to varying degrees depending on what is happening in our lives. Despite all of this – the world goes on.

I have a friend who was waiting to find out if she had cancer, this was very scarey for her. She had lots of support around her during the “waiting” period. Once it was determined that she didn’t, most of those who supported her when back to their lives thinking she’s “all good now” – meanwhile she still has shooting pains five times a day and wants support.

I think this happens alot. I know that it took me a great deal of courage to set aside from my personna of independance to and share with my closest friends how challenging my life is and how I need help. I realized that if I didn’t regular advocate for what I needed – I wasn’t going to get it because loving people have busy lives adn the the world goes on.

Sometimes I play victim to this and feel angry – how dare they forget about me unless there is a crisis. I am single, alone, suffering and need help. Yet, I come back to realizing it is my responsiblity to ask for help. I feel jealous sometimes when I see my friends so busy in their lives – them declining to do activities with me because they already have plans. Yet not feeling like people are asking me to do things and wondering why that is – is it because they don’t know I can, worried I will say no, think I am too tired? I’m not sure. This is my own suffering around exclusion that I need to face.

Other times I feel loved, strong, welcomed, encouraged and appreciated.

Going back to Mary Oliver’s poem – 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.

I love the last like of this verse. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. How true can this be. I am responsible for loving myself and giving love. On some days this is very difficult in the face of where I am at and other days it is effortless.

To hear and see Mary Oliver read this poem cue up this video at 1 minute and 50 seconds. Enjoy.


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  1. thanks for introducing me to Mary Oliver – her work is wonderful!

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