poetry dose | five

Tonight I was at Theology on Tap, and one of the speakers asked some questions I didn’t feel like answering. I don’t want to answer them now either. So I’m sharing them with you. And making it my delayed poetry dose for the week — I think that “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver (a perennial classic and you can hear her read it at On Being) answers them well.

The questions were about counting. The speaker recounted her experience of counting hotel points and airline miles, needing to know when she was going to level up to the next tier. We, she said, might be counting pounds, likes, weekend invitations, achievements at work, etc etc etc. Filling up our lives with numbers that signify our worth. In my case: steps, blog views, Instagram likes, loss on the scale, texts received, personal emails received, and SO ON.

But here was her point:

What are we counting? What are we using to create a sense of worth and security? If we’re not living life surrendered to God, we’re living in bondage to something else.

Womp. Got me. That’s all. I don’t have any solutions. I’ll just be over here checking my FitBit app and worrying about the fact that I’m checking my FitBit app. That’s definitely a whole new world of bondage to my counting. Jeez Louise.


wild geese

Wild Geese – 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.


5 thoughts on “poetry dose | five

  1. Imagine my surprise as I am faithfully reading the daily devotion of Blessed is She, truly enjoying today’s reflection, and when I reach the bottom see your name as the author! Wow, Brigid! Nice work, girl!

    Sam’s lovely girlfriend, Sarah, told me about the site when I was visiting Omaha (where they both live) in July.

    On another note of travel, I’ve just returned home from ten days with Becca, Matt and their adorable Abraham! I was so very honored to be asked to be there as they began their parenting stage. And boy are they rocking it!

    I’ve always known this, but am sure I never told you, that you are/have such a beautiful soul. I’m proud to know you. Keep up the good work, sweet girl! Blessings, hugs and love to you!

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet, sweet words, Mrs. Pierre! I so appreciate it.

      And I love seeing wonderful friends have their own babies! Becca, Maggie Ball, and a bunch of other great women are becoming such amazing mothers!

  2. I was at this Theology on Tap, too! I have been thinking about the counting thing and was pretty surprised to find there are way too many things I count, and they sound pretty similar to yours (how many people RSVP’d to the event I planned??). I really liked your Blessed Is She post from today. Thanks for writing!


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