Mary Oliver On The Journey

   Mary Oliver   (September 10, 1935 -)

Mary Oliver (September 10, 1935 -)

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.

 

Listen to Mary Oliver read her poem "The Journey" here.