cross streaming across the sky, its feet like black leaves, and its wings like the stretching light of the river?” (11-12) Then Oliver connects the landscape to human nature. She asks: “And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything? And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for? And have you changed your life?” In typical fashion Oliver makes the poem conversational and interactive by asking questions that urge the reader to take a look inside themselves. Also Oliver keeps a rhythm by repeating “did you” and “have you.” This particular poem is describing the swan in its natural habitat and the swan is only concerned with itself and comfortable in its own skin. Hinting that maybe people should be comfortable in themselves. In “Wild Geese” Oliver does not start with a question but a claim. She states “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.” (1-3) When she says walking on knees and repenting, this is a very similar action one would do when repenting sins by prayer in church. This reference also touches on Jesus walking through the desert. Next line Oliver says “you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Humans do not have a specific body part that would be the “soft animal” but
rather your primal being. Oliver is urging the reader to give into desire and follow the heart. She then asks the reader to tell about their despair and she will tell hers, however, the world will still turn. She elaborates by declaring: “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 rivers.” She reminds the reader that even when you are overwhelmed by your despairs the world will keep moving on. But, meanwhile the wild geese are going about their ritual. Oliver says “meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.” The birds are migrating either home or to someplace warm in a big group honking and hollering in a big group.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 5 pages?
- Fall '17
- Interrogative word, Oliver, MARY OLIVER