8fcbe-img_2547Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019)🌹

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.

 

This was the first poem by Mary Oliver I read while working in the bookstore at Esalen. It inspired in me the courage to live my own life regardless of the voices around me. Thank you my poetess.

Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019)🌹

Listen to Mary Oliver read her poem “The Journey” here.