“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” Carl Sandburg
Hummingbird is pleased to introduce Shadow Dancing, its new poetry series. Last February, when we were celebrating our first Hummingbird Valentine’s Day, we planned a bit of a posting extravaganza. We had a special greeting, commentary, musings, a quote, artwork, and a beautiful love poem by e.e. cummings. We had never posted a poem before and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was the most read post of the day, and in fact it was read continuously for the weeks that followed. So, with that in mind, we invited Contributor Lynda Bernard to introduce a new poem each month from among her favorites, along with a note about “why” the poem was selected to be featured. Be prepared to be reminded with each month's selection of the beauty that can be achieved when imagination is invoked and pen is put to paper.
Here is the first Shadow Dancing Poetry Series Selection.
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.
Why was Wild Geese selected?
I love the intimate feeling of this poem, and the urgency of its message. Oliver expresses what one must do in order to lead a good life: Not worry too much about being good, but rather be true to nature and the beauty found in nature.
Mary Oliver is one of our most beloved poets, and she uses nature imagery in almost all her poems to convey her message. Oliver has won the Pulitzer and the National Book Award for her poems.
We invite your comments about Wild Geese, as well as your recommendations for future selections.