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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 bodylove 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 rainare

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 placein the family of things.

Mary Oliver