Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Journey, by Mary Oliver

On Sunday, I decided to take a break from getting ready for the photo exhibit. I had been in high gear, and frankly not very pleasant to be around for a few days. I thought some retail therapy might be in order. At the clothing store, I noticed a little book on the table. I impulsively bought it.

That night, I got into bed and picked up the book. Here is the first poem:

The Journey

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.

Mary Oliver

I was dumbstruck.

I've read the poem several times now, and each time something new comes to me. I'm not ready to talk about all my feelings here and now. Maybe later. But the first poem has impacted me significantly.

P. S. I have a book of poems by Mary Oliver, and can't find it right now. But in that odd way things have of happening, I got this in a daily email: "Listen - are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?" - Mary Oliver


trisha said...

She wrote that for me, you know. Made me cry.

kenju said...

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!