The Wild Geese
Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer’s end. In time’s haze
over fall fields, we name names
that went west from here, names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed’s marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here. ~ Wendell Berry
In Celtic spirituality a goose is the symbol for the Holy Spirit. For the Celts raised on the windswept cliffs of the Irish Sea it is the goose that survives and thrives.
For the Celts a wild, loud, sometimes aggressive goose is a more fitting symbol of that great mystery called Spirit. Whereas tradition depicts a dove, it is a goose which honks with an explosive energy and flies on wide, powerful, expansive wings.
Wendell Berry the Kentucky farmer and poet believes that wild geese flying over remind us ‘that what we need is here’, that the mysteries of life surround us…seed and earth and honking geese…awakening us to the gift of now.