Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Journey by Mary Oliver

I was reading some poetry recently and ran across this by Mary Oliver. I haven't read anything by her I haven't liked.

I don't write poetry, and don't even read a lot of poetry, but I've learned to appreciate the turn of phrase that only a master of the language can produce.

I love the last few lines of this poem. They really resonate with me on multiple levels.

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.


Cynthia said...

Mary Oliver is one of my favorites. I am taking an online class next month using "New and Selected Poems, Volume 2". I know I am going to love it!

Patsy Terrell said...

I love her, too. I keep running across poetry by her and Wendell Berry. Obviously, something of interest there.