you do not

“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.”

MARY OLIVER, “Wild Geese”

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the botticellian trees

The alphabet of
the trees

is fading in the
song of the leaves

the crossing
bars of the tin

letters that spelled
winter

and the cold
have been illuminated

with
pointed green

by the rain and sun—
The strict simple

principles of
straight branches

are being modified
by pinched-out

ifs of color, devout
conditions

the smiles of love—

until the script
sentences

move as a woman’s
limbs under cloth

and praise from secrecy
quick with desire

love’s ascendancy
in summer—

In summer the song
sings itself

above the muffled words—

WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS

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