Kamsin Kaneko has just started a new poetry prompt over on her blog HERE, and for the first one she chose this poem, Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver, to provide inspiration. I hadn't come across it before, but it's widely available on the internet, here it is again for you, if you've not had the pleasure:
Wild Geese - 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.|
For her prompt Kamsin has asked us to use some of the words and structure from Mary's poem to write our own.
I wouldn't normally share this because I think Mary's poem is stupendous, and I am in a dark wee world at the moment, noticing the edges of things, but I want to support Kamsin and join in the conversation, so here we go. BTW I do like working in a library - honest!
I'm trying different things with line breaks, I have a feeling this isn't the final draft of the poem (tbh it's never the final draft!).
You do not have to be good
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to smile at the people as they call you girl.
You do not have to fit yourself into anyone else's space or form.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body be soft
be vulnerable, know when it needs to hide the soft places
pulling the curtains against the world.
You do not have to be hard, or strong, or anything that isn't you.
You can be you, now.
Meanwhile when I click the green flag begin a forever loop
bring the books in take the books out shelve the books
remember your alphabet, love the stamping, close the loop.
Meanwhile the toilet floor will not clean itself.
Meanwhile he will take water and music and more water later.
Meanwhile it will not matter that she never finds a job in this life
if she finds a place in heaven.
Meanwhile nothing will stay this way though it seems it never changes.
They will not always call you girl and then what will you do?
The world flows as your place flows and for all your jobs in this world
there need be no heaven.
Ⓒ Cara L McKee 18/6/18