January 10, 2017

To my Favorite Feminist Poet, this is why I Love you.

I was a budding feminist when I first read Mary Oliver.

But her feminism wasn’t the only reason I fell in love with her—although I admit it didn’t hurt.

Her words that made me fall in love with her.

They spoke to my heart just what I needed to hear when I needed it.

Among her words were in her poem Wild Geese which helped me in my quest for spirituality.

My favorite lines:

“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.” ~ Mary Oliver

I cast off the ideas of repentance for humanity through that poem.

I only grew her to love her more as I read more.

She untapped the truth that the path I trod was perfectly acceptable in The Journey:

… little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do–

determined to save

the only life you could save. ~ Mary Oliver

The last lines stood out to me.

The only life I could save was my own.

The voice I needed to hear wasn’t any preacher nor parent (no matter how honorable their intent), but rather my own voice.

With this new information, that I am author of my life’s story, I am able to ponder her question:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

And no, I don’t always have a picture of the whole life plan, but I can find the next step in the path.

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.

I want to be light and frolicsome.

I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,

as though I had wings.” ~ Mary Oliver

I’m gonna fly into action and claim the life of my dreams.


Author: Lindsay Lock

Image: Daily Mail

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

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