A Poem: The Journey, by Mary Oliver

January 27, 2012 · 3 comments

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tina January 27, 2012 at 21:54

Oh my God…I almost cried. We’ve all gone through this. Some are still experiencing it. However, I lost my 6th grade English teacher two days ago. She was tough and had high expectations–but still encouraged us to march to the beat of our own drum when we wrote–and she definitely marched to her own at a time when it was almost unheard of. Why did I almost cry? Her name was Lorene Oliver. She wanted our voices to come through in our writing–and somehow my mind also went back to my college years–reading Flannery O’Connor. I thought of Mrs. Oliver then too…

I’ve been taking a breather of sorts, and I really needed this. Thank you for posting it.

Sometimes in taking those steps toward our own destiny, the life we save truly does turn out to be our own, doesn’t it? Beautiful poem, Lauren. Thanks for posting it. I’m saving it.


2 Lauren January 29, 2012 at 11:00

Tina, I’m so sorry for your loss. You never forget a good teacher, that’s for sure. My condolences.


3 Jasmine January 31, 2012 at 10:09

I cherish this. Thank you for this. So good.


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