“Wild Geese” is a free-verse nature poem that first appeared in Mary Oliver’s 1986 collection, Dream Work. The poem consists of a single eighteen-line stanza, and it features eight sentences of widely varying lengths. Across these eight sentences, the poem’s speaker addresses the reader directly. In their earnest address, the speaker tells us that we don’t need to subject ourselves to self-punishment, nor do we have to submit to despair. Instead of torturing ourselves unnecessarily, the speaker implies, we have only to look beyond our own troubles and notice the vast grandeur of the natural world. This world is always near, and we need only shift our attention to it to reconnect to the thriving vitality that is forever unfolding there. The speaker specially draws our attention to the wild geese that can be seen flying high above, once more on their long return journey home. Like the geese, we should also begin our journey home, making our way back not to the barren desert of self-torture, but to the fertile prairies and the majestic mountains. It is these landscapes, the speaker finally implies, where we will find the true solace of homecoming.