21 September

Poem To Scott And Those Who Hurt: You Do Not Have To Be Good

by Jon Katz
You Do Not Have To Be Good
You Do Not Have To Be Good

This poem is dedicated to my friend Scott Carrino and to all of those who hurt. It was inspired by Mary Oliver’s wonderful poem, “Wild Geese,” and Omar Khayam’s “The Moving Finger.”  Thanks to them.



“You do not have to be perfect,

or even good.

You do not have to walk on your knees,

or bow to the universe.

You only have to let your soft spirit and brave body

love what it loves,

and do what it does.

You only have to sing your song,

to the waiting world.

Tell me your struggle stories,

and I will tell you mine,

but the moving finger writes,

and I would rather we clap our hands,

and applaud the sun as it sails across the landscape.

Meanwhile, the sheep graze in the meadow,

the cows in the field, the songbirds are already gone,

without fanfare or farewell.

October light is turning the forests red and orange,

the wild geese, out in the fields, are getting ready to go home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, how frightened, how troubled

or sick, the world offers itself to you and your imagination,

it calls to you to seek out your place in the world, to live a life of meaning,

to tell your story,

to join with  the family of things to dance in the great dance of life.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Email SignupEmail Signup