Saved by a Poem


I was never a big fan of poetry in school. I remember choosing the shortest poem I could find when I needed to memorize a poem in the 6th grade. But something changed for me when I read this book. Kim Rosen helped me to realize the transformative power of words. When we learn them by heart, they become a part of us, and are there for us in times of need. I love that she talks about the yoga of poetry and includes a list of 50 poems to live by heart that can all be found on-line. I read many of these poems to the yogis in my classes during relaxation pose and they love them too.
Here is one of my favorites: 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.