A favorite poem

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.


- In Mary Oliver's own voice -



  1. Yep, we can only save ourselves and nobody else can do it for us. So glad to hear from you, Janice. Stay warm.

  2. I hadn't heard of her passing. Thanks for sharing this one. And then there's always that question...
    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

    1. Exactly! She passed away just yesterday. Her words and the way she connected them to nature will be sorely missed in this world :(

  3. SO sad when I heard she was gone. I have her "New and Secret Poems" on my nightstand. So many favorites and I'm always amazed at how she could put a collection emotions and resolutions (as in your selection above) into a few concise verses. Also great photos. Good to know you're still out there. Stay warm.

  4. So true.

    And so good to hear from you, I smiled from ear to ear when I saw your's and Button's comments on my post. There are some people you just LOVE.

  5. I am appreciating the irony that I have just discovered this wonderful poet after her death. I've been reading her writings and they really speak to me.

  6. Hope you and your critters are staying warm.

  7. awesome...poem and views.
    have a great day


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