Wild Horses

Sarah Orme

Author Sarah Orme, under the influence of her exploration through the aspen grove behind Daniels Summit Lodge, wrote a poem pattered after Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese


Wild Horses
by Sarah Orme

You do not have to be perfect,
You do not have to answer the call of hundreds
searching and looking for approval and direction.
You only have to let the powerful animal body of yours stand where it stands.

Tell me about captivity, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile, the days pass on.
Meanwhile, the fences change from open, to wood,
to metal; honing commodities and products over
the snow-laden ground and aspen covered hills.

Meanwhile the horses stand, noble in light blue
harnesses and Hamilton brand chains,
Standing down, pacing in the mud, forgetful of the
hills of home.

Whoever you are, in whatever cage
is closing in, the hills and prairies and aspens and life
call to you with power and approval again and again
waiting for your return.

Wild Geese
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.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Central Utah Writing Project, we invite you to apply for our next summer institute.