Posted by: DCox | March 14, 2009

Saving Ourselves

A friend recently read this poem to me. I’m thankful for his gift. I thought I didn’t like poetry, probably because much of it was incomprehensible, or so I thought. This poem, in 155 words, says more than some authors say in many pages of prose. Mary Oliver, the author, serves up a poignant conversation with a new voice…(our own voice).


    The Journey by Mary Oliver

the-journeyOne 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 their 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 that you could save.


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