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 . . .
from Mary Oliver's poem, "Wild Geese"
I don't usually bother with poems I dislike, but I don't like this one. And people send it to me from time to time, as if to comfort me.
I know it's a little nuts, but every time I read it or hear it, as in a yoga class or on NPR, I get stuck on the line about letting the animal of your body love what it loves. That's all you need to do? Really?
And --you do not need to be good?
Then I start thinking--maybe it would work in an etiquette book for vampires.
Nin Andrews is the author of 5 full collections of poetry and 6 chapbooks. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux. Her literary comics are posted on Best American Poetry's Blog on Monday mornings.