Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Today is my birthday. And today is the first time in 21 years that my mother has spent the night at my house. There's a long, sad, difficult,happy-ending story that explains why this is so, but today is not the day for that. Today my 90 year old mother and I are driving on these fragrant farm roads, picking up corn-on-the cob for dinner, and checking out the butterfly sanctuary that spooked me a few weeks ago.

Today I am shouting a collective "thank you" to my family, friends, community and the universe. And I am sharing my favorite poem of all time: Wild Geese by Provincetown's Mary Oliver. I hope it might find you at just the right moment and provide something sacred in the very moment you need it.

Thank you, thank you.

Wild Geese

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
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the
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
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
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


  1. Happy Birthday, KJ. That poem is lovely. I can understand why it's your favourite. I may just have to borrow it sometime.

    Enjoy yur corn and have a fabulous day x

  2. Happy Birthday!!! I love Mary Oliver. Great choice.

  3. Happiest of Happy Birthdays to you, kj! I'm so glad you're spending it with your mom, surrounded by love.

    See you very soon!

  4. Well, Happy Birthday to you. Here's another Happy Birthday to you: Malipayon Nga Kaadlawan Sa Imo!!!

  5. MALIGAYANG KAARAWAN! (that's happy birthday in Tagalog)

    All the best!

  6. Happy birthday, kj! It sounds like you're having a nice, relaxing day. The corn-on-the-cob sounds delicious. Enjoy!

  7. I love that. A very happy birthday to you.

  8. Happy happy birthday KJ. A very uplifting post, thank you. And posting the poem reminds me of cultures who GIVE presents on their birthday. I love that.

  9. ces and maria, can you fill me in on tagalog? i like to think i am reasonably worldly but this language is so unfamiliar to me....

  10. Happy Birthday, KJ!
    Thank you for the poetry!



  11. Happy Birthday...may it be glorious!

  12. I think Maria speaks Tagalog. My greeting is in Ilonggo. Conversational Ilonggo is a combination of Hiligaynon, Spanish and English. I think Ilonggo is the best and most gentle language in the Philippines, do you agree Maria?
    Oh also Ilonggos are the nicest and friendliest group of people



    Languages of Philippines
    Republic of the Philippines. 86,241,697. National or official languages: Filipino, English. Literacy rate: 88% to 89%. Also includes Basque, French (698), Hindi (2,415), Indonesian (2,580), Japanese (2,899), Korean, Sindhi (20,000), Standard German (961), Vietnamese, Arabic. Information mainly from L. A. Reid 1971; SIL 1954–2003. Blind population: 1,144,500. Deaf population: 100,000 to 4,232,519 (1998). Deaf institutions: 17. The number of languages listed for Philippines is 175. Of those, 171 are living languages and 4 are extinct.

    So you can chose the language you want,

  13. Happy Birthday!

    Terrific poem. I'll have to find more Mary Oliver.

  14. Yes! this found me at just the right moment! Amazing, love the part "The world offers itself to your imagination". Happy Birthday! I hope it was a very Happy Day!!!

  15. ces, makes we want to learn alot more about the phillipines.

    i had a fine birthday. i am feeling younger and younger every day, but with an added dollup of hard-earned wisdom.