You do not have to be good

For seven years after I quit drinking, I had a scrappy piece of paper with an author-less poem glued to the inside cover of my datebook. I looked for the author for years, but just couldn't find it and finally got rid of the dayplanner with the smeared, ripped, untitled but still legible and perfect orphan poemlette. Yesterday, my friend Tim sent out an email with a poem by Mary Oliver and my first reaction was: groan, nature poetry.

And there it was. I found my "poem" inside of a bigger poem called "In Blackwater Woods."

From In Blackwater Woods

Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Mary Oliver ~ (from American Primitive)

When Oliver gets philosophical she can really rock the Kasbah.
Another Mary Oliver knock-out is "Wild Geese." Killer first line.

You do not have to be good.

If life is about seeking freedom--the freedom to really be yourself, to love fully, to follow your passions and fill out the canvas of your life in meaninful ways that you want, rathr than what you think you should want or what other people want--how does the ideal of being "good" hold you back?