Mary Oliver: Wild Geese


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.

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.

~ Mary Oliver


Prayers from and to St. Lucy

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Saint Lucy

delivered her eyes to her lover on a platter
in an act of devotion
because he had once admired them
exchanging her vision for the prophet’s.
In an act of devotion,
Saint Lucy lost her sense,
exchanging her vision for the prophet’s.
She desires inspection.
Saint Lucy lost her sense
Traded spectacles for dreams
and denies inspection.
Saint Lucy, unspoken,
for she can not weep
and loves her Lord, fiercely.
Such women are disfigured by their devotion.
Saint Lucy tore out her eyes
and raised gaping lids to God.

Laura Ehrisman

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Euthychia suggested that the sums would make a good bequest, but Lucy countered,

“…whatever you give away at death for the Lord’s sake you give because

you cannot take it with you.

Give now to the true Savior,

while you are healthy,

whatever you intended to give away at your death.”

~ St. Lucy, via Wikipedia

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Reflections from an old Zoo Keeper


More from the book Hannah’s Dream by Diane Hammond that I finished last weekend:

An elderly zoo keeper to her to the man

she entrusts as an elephant caretaker:

” ‘ I’ve lived a long time, Mr. Brown, longer than most. I should be grateful – indeed, I am grateful. And yet, I would give everything, everything, to do it all again.’ …

Max Biedleman stood sihlouetted in the parlor window, silent. Finally she said, ‘Do you know what I’ve been thinking lately? I’ve been thinking that we’re animals, like any others-we senesce, we sink into decrepitude just as they do. But I’ve wondered if it isn’t our special hell that we are able to register the swift passage of time, the lightening speed of it all, and the absoluteness with which it is gone…

indeed, the world is a finer place

when one sees it from the back of an elephant.‘ “

Pastors Can Be Imagined as Fence Lattice

NeatO as we used to say in the day.

I just stumbled on a beautiful image.

The image of God as lover is not new to me. And, when I stumbled on an article, that not only describes biblical reference to God as lover, I almost skipped it, as I am in a bit of a sulky and tense discourse with the Almighty.

The article has mention of an ancient image as Jewish rabbi’s being fence lattice. (click on the blue word to go to the article in

I am guessing that there is no harm in borrowing that illustration and applying it to the pastors and priests that have been a part of my faith wanderings.

I like that fence image. A lot!

I’ve been luckier than the rest of you (sorry, bragging rights here) with having friends and extended family who are the best pastors ever.

I’m on it. Not on the fence, but comfortably behind it, shaded by it, and protected by this inviting image of good pastors who filter the challenges and overwhelming nature of religion and spirituality alike.

For me, lattice is a very comforting symbol of both protection and filter, and is helping to soften the spiritual pout that I’ve already admitted is currently par for my course.

I am peeking from exactly where I am, and am not alone while I’m at it.