In Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, one of the first things I noticed was Oliver's intimate connection to the reader. She uses words like "you" to address the reader, which makes the poem feel more intimate as the reader may feel lonely. "You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves." This line is to assure the reader that it's okay to feel the things you are feeling. Under this human exterior, we all strive for connection and understanding, even animals. Humans and animals are built on the same idea of survival- to love, be loved, and to connect. Oliver says "tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine." This line creates a sense of intimacy between the writer and reader, clarifying the whole meaning within the poem and lets the reader dig deep and connect with the writers poem from there own thoughts. I feel that Oliver is telling the reader that it's okay to have certain feelings. We are in control and it's okay to do what you think is right.
The line "meanwhile the world goes on," reminds the reader to keep going. I believe the message that Oliver wants the readers to know is, essentially, life goes on. As humans, we all have bad days and go through tough times, but tomorrow will still come. The rest of the world is still going on. Just as you feel like nothing matters anymore and that life is falling apart, it's all in your perspective. Kind of like wild geese flying in the sky. The wild geese literally have a different perspective from humans. "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," Oliver writes. These two lines have great meaning to me. Just like the rest of the poem, I think the message Oliver is trying to convey to her readers is life is what we make of it. We should be able to live on our own terms. And as humans, we need to try and see life through different perspectives to help us find purpose.
We all have a place and purpose in the world. Sometimes it takes some imagination and alternative ways of thinking to find it.
"I am offering this poem to you"
Baca references that his love will always be embedded within this "poem", whether or not it's actually tangible.
"Keep it like a warm coat" - "or like a pair of thick socks"
Baca is using materialistic items to represent him when he's not there. Towards the end of the poem, I started to suggest maybe the person receiving this poem is leaving or maybe the author is leaving and is giving the poem to them. Does that mean this could be a goodbye poem? Representation of his love? Baca states that you should "Keep it, treasure this as you would if you were lost, needing direction"
"come knocking, and I will answer, give you directions" He loves a girl and is now confessing his feeling to her. She may not feel the same but she can always "come knocking, and I will answer." I think that line represents his presence and love always surrounding her. When she's lost and needs direction, she can refer back to this poem and be reminded of his love. He may not be there physically but the remembrance of him will always be there.
The placement of the "I love you" throughout the poem is spaced out, almost as if he's hesitant to say it for the last time. He mentions that the poem is "all I have to give and all anyone needs to live." - "I have nothing else to give." Love is overall the most powerful emotion anyone on this planet can feel. And to be quite frank, everyone needs love to survive. He doesn't have much of anything to give expect for his love. And who expects him to want to give anything else to her if one of them is leaving.
This poem is one of my favorites in the "Milk and Honey" Collection. Kaur was one of the first poets I fell in love with. Her work is pure emotion which makes it relatable. The images illustrating the work makes the poem feel more powerful.
"I do not want to have you to fill the empty parts of me"
The act of oneself wanting company doesn't mean you should have to give all of yourself to someone. You can grow as a person and do everything you wish without having someone there to fall back on. Relationships are one of the most complex ideas ever created. Is the thought of relationships there to help us feel comfort? This poem made me wonder about how we cope as humans. Many people feel like they should be in a relationship to feel needed and to feel worth while. Kaur is breaking that mold.
This poem enlightens the idea of being free while in the presence of another person. Whether it's a friendship or a romantic relationship, you are allowed to be your own person. I feel like Kaur is longing for how she wishes she could handle relationships. "I want to be full on my own." Before committing to any relationship, you should be happy with yourself. I know it's pretty cliche, but I feel like this poem is all about finding yourself and letting yourself have the chance to feel self worth before needing someone else to feel the void.
"I want to have you cause the two of us combined could set it on fire."
This line symbolizes the strength and quality in a healthy relationship. When you're with someone, you shouldn't have to give apart of yourself to them. The feeling of "together we can do anything" is what Kaur is referencing to in the line above. That line also reminds me of that feeling you get when you know you are meant to be friends with someone. No matter what you two are doing, you always enjoy each others company. The energy and love that surrounds a relationship feels like you could set the world on fire from how nearly perfect of a match you are with someone.
"How remarkable it is to know so many have watched the same sun set before you."
Loneliness is an emotion we all feel. On our hardest days we feel as if we are the only one having a bad day. This poem rejoices the feeling of hope. When I first read this I instantly connected to the vulnerable side of Smith as a writer, but also as a person. Each and everyone of us have bad days. Some more than others. When Smith says, "A reminder that we are born of the same atom as every plant and bird and mountain and ocean around us," he is settling on the fact that we're all apart of this earth. No matter what societal issues come about we are all made from the same elements. So how is it right to feel alone? How can you say that we are different? Isn't different supposed to be a good thing?
Smith grabs the readers attention by describing earth and nature as having more humanistic qualities. Justifying, and ultimately making the end result, the feeling of new. That hopefully at the end of every cycle in life, if you can even say there is one, that us as humans, much like nature, can be reborn. Making it a point to say even nature goes through patterns of self reflection and growth. That we all need it for survival.
"How the leaves have always become the soil that then become the leaves again. How maybe we are also always being reborn to be something more than we once were." Smith makes it a point to say as if these feelings of sadness and frustration within ourselves are routine. As if it's a worldly duty for everyone and everything on this planet to have hard days every so often. Maybe it's what keeps us who we are. Having a sense of 'not everything is gonna work out but in the end you're not alone'. The title of the poem alone lets the reader know that this is something to read when you are going through a rut. Self reassurance.
The universe is so deep. It ultimately seems infinite. With the universe being a complex, vast of, let's be real, nothingness, how can it even be allowed to have feelings of loneliness? There's so much to this life that we know we can't be alone. But just something, a human nature kind of something, puts it in our heads that we are the only ones with our feelings. This poem signifies the importance of emotions and having independent thought. "It is hard to describe the comfort one feels in sitting with something you trust will always be there, something you can count on to remain."