Wild Geese

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Many believe by learning from the past, to move forward to the future. Mary Oliver’s poem, “Wild Geese,” motivates individuals to join their past with the future in order to bring out the best in themselves. “Wild Geese” first appeared in Oliver’s Dream Work, published in 1986. This poem is one out of forty-five poems in Dream Work that encourages self-awareness. She explores the association between nature and the human mind—how the mind transcends through memories, separating us from society. She contemplates why humans worry when the beauty of nature surrounds us. By using the geese metaphor, she illustrates the feeling of flying free from the expectations of society. Throughout Mary Oliver’s poem, “Wild Geese,” she encourages the reader to find happiness and be more imaginative by discovering his or her place in nature. Oliver uses symbolism and imagery to make the reader do a little mental and soul searching. Likewise, she emphasizes the reader using their imagination and memory. To relate to the reader, she uses the metaphor of geese flying across the sky. This creates a scene most individuals are familiar with. This experience is calm and almost intriguing to watch the geese fly in their formations toward the north or south. The scene becomes a moment of thought and not an observance of the geese. Oliver suggests the reader “fly home” and find peace like the geese do. Oliver could have only written that you are not alone, however, giving an image can impact the reader more. After reading “Wild Geese,” the reader goes through self-realization and finds their place in nature. Many believe the best way to understand Mary Oliver’s poem is to analyze each line and find the underlying meaning through their imagination. In the first line, she reminds us that we do not have to be perfect, “you do not have to be good.” (1). Oliver explains that we “…do not have to walk on your knees / for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting…” (2-3). Oliver is making a...
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