The Journey by Mary Oliver

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 (Dream Work)

Read: Maria Shriver Interviews the Famously Private Poet Mary Oliver.

Others: Five A.M. in the Pinewoods (House of Light) Mindful (Why I Wake Early)

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, photo by Ken West

See It Is I Who Must Begin by Václav Havel. It shares a similar sentiment.

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8 Responses to “The Journey by Mary Oliver”

  1. Nathanael Chawkin Says:

    I love this! Read it out loud while listening to this: http://youtu.be/FcdOLKx2XG8

    Like

  2. Mary Oliver’s Summer Day is filled with wonder | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] poems: The Journey by Mary Oliver | Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, photo by Ken West | Varanasi by Mary Oliver in A […]

    Like

  3. Mary Oliver’s Summer Day is filled with wonder | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] poems: The Journey by Mary Oliver | Wild Geese by Mary Oliver, photo by Ken West | Varanasi by Mary Oliver in A […]

    Like

  4. Wendell Berry’s “No going back” is about the generosity of the evolving self through time | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Here is a National Endowment For The Humanities interview with Wendell E. Berry, Awards & Honors: 2012 Jefferson Lecturer. These poems by Walcott, O’Donohue, Hafiz, and Oliver complement Berry’s theme: Love after Love, by Derek Walcott, A Blessing of Solitude by John O’Donohue, The Root of The Rose by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky, and The Journey by Mary Oliver. […]

    Like

  5. Mary Oliver’s transcendent experience at the lake, put into words, might leave you breathless | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […]  Enjoy these other lovely poems by Mary Oliver: Summer Day, Varanasi, Praying, Wild Geese, and The Journey. […]

    Like

  6. The job of a poet — someone’s gotta do it! | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Some of Mary Oliver’s poems are exquisite. Mary Oliver’s transcendent experience at the lake, put into words, might leave you breathless.  Enjoy these other lovely poems by Mary Oliver: Summer Day, Varanasi, Praying, Wild Geese, and The Journey. […]

    Like

  7. Change begins within, and it starts with me. | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] reminds me of Mary Oliver’s poem, The Journey, where leaving home is necessary to “save the only life you could save” and discover […]

    Like

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