Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.Leonardo da Vinci
One of the most soul-nurturing things I have ever done is to read poetry. I keep volumes of poems beside my bed, and I have a journal that I have kept since my high school days, into which I have transcribed favourite poems.
These are the poems that I read over and over.
This old journal is well worn, the pages tatty with age and with love, and still as I read these familiar words, I discover new things. New things about myself. New things about the world.
My understanding shifts, changes, deepens.
These poems mean more to me than I can easily say.
One of the ones I come back to, time and time again, is this one – Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver. I hope you like it too.
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
Perhaps you’d like to keep a copy of the poem with you too, for those days when you need some comfort. Here it is as a downloadable PDF.
Sending you love, and the right words for your day to bring you just what you need as emotional support, Nicole xx
2 thoughts on “The Poems I Keep Beside My Bed”
So glad to see poems in your posts. They are like an antidote, especially when we are stung by a toxic thought. Have to admit never read Wild Geese before. But I always hold on to “f I can stop one heart from breaking”” by Emily D. and the poem “IF” by Rudyard K.. I keep them as milestones in an otherwise ambition strung up world.
Lots of Love ,hugs and Prayers,
Thank you Nicole. You totally nailed it for me this morning with that one🙏🥲💖. My favourite place for a poem that means something for me, is the blue glass splash back in my kitchen near the jug! This will one will slip in beside cards and notes from my children, dried leaves and mermaid scales from the beach. A messy place in our house but one filled with love and things that are special to me. To remind myself as I get about the day, and for my family to witness the quiet beatings of my heart, Much love to you and the bards of yesterday, today and tomorrow✨