The Journey

This poem by Mary Oliver showed up on my Facebook feed today.  The timing was sacred.  I really needed to read it today. And I want to reread it and reread it and reread it.  I’m putting it on my fridge!  I hope it reaches you as deeply as it did me.    Annie.

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.



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Alexa says:

    This poem! … I was recovering from pneumonia in the spring of 1989, and one of my first outings as I gathered strength was to the library (I’d been away from it for weeks — agony!). I sat on the floor amongst the poetry shelves, exhasuted. One book-spine grabbed my eye: ‘Dream Work’, by Mary Oliver. I pulled the book from the shelf, opened it at random, and there was “The Journey.” It saved my life then; saves my life now and has saved my life on countless occasions. I’ve passed it on and on and on. It is perfect; I think it’s the most luminous, urgent poem that Mary Oliver has composed. Thanks for placing it here in such a lovely context (the sunlit tree!) …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh… Alexa. I got shivers when I saw your lovely comment late last night. Would you believe I had just thought of you yesterday? I happened to be looking at my hotmail account for this blog — which I never look at, it’s been months — and I saw our old correspondence. I hope you’re doing well.
      Don’t you just love Mary Oliver? I wish I, too, had found her in 1989. I could have used her then. Thank you for finding this poem. Another coincidence — I’ve been wanting to read it again myself, wanting to find it again and post it somewhere at home where I can see it every day at the moment. And thank you for your appreciation of the trees… I’ve just returned from a walk in the woods and took more photos of God and those trees…. “Blessed be”. Annie.


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