Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 11, 2009

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on September 11, 2009

Earlier today at Ground Zero in New York, the Vice President of the United States quoted from the following poem by 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.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 14, 2009 @ 7:06 am

I have reread this wonderful poem many times since the POST. Nature certainly does speak to us and the Native Americans had a special place for their deceased love ones in the stars and the wild animals including geese. I believe and am comforted by the thought that all returns one way or another through nature to continued existence in some form. We are all recycled so to speak. The freedom of flight of the geese certainly is an image to cross over from the past to the future. Thanks Mary for this effort. Thanks Phil for the POST and reminder of eternal elements of life even on 9/11!

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