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~

the journey by mary oliver was sent to me by someone or perhaps i read it in a blog somewhere but it stopped me in my tracks.  it doesn’t matter where it came from but it showed up exactly when it was supposed to show up.  i cried, reread it and cried some more.  I could cry again reading it – yes, i am sap. the verse that made me weep “you knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundation…”.   i think we all know what we’re supposed to do.  i know i did.  i could feel those stiff fingers prying at my very foundation, trying to knock me down.  but i plowed through.  it’s still a journey but a journey that i embracing with open arms.

everyday we listen to what others say,  what others want.  when really, deep down, we know what we need and want.  those outside forces keep pushing us back to keep us in that protected ball that makes THEM feel comfortable.   it is then that you must push back and save the only life you can save.

always be true to you.  ~hugs

The Journey by Mary Oliver

photo by stacy tarlow photography – please don’t steal images, it ain’t cool.

February 8, 2012 - 10:23 pm

michelle s. - That image is gorgeous! Macro?

Love that poem. It’s so hard to fight the other voices sometimes.

February 9, 2012 - 1:47 am

lisa heuer - wow. great poem. some of us ask for advice and then only listen to the advice if it is in line with what we already thought or knew. Maybe this poem explains why. If we could only drown it all out… Thanks for sharing. The image is beautiful!

February 9, 2012 - 2:30 am

Amy S. - This is beautiful and true and really resonates with me. Thank you for sharing!

February 9, 2012 - 11:39 am

Heather M. - what a beautiful poem. i needed to hear those words today too. and that image is just gorgeous!

March 8, 2012 - 4:29 pm

Nanette Gordon-Cramton - Hi Stacy, I’m over here looking at your beautiful blog! Mary Oliver is one of my very favorite poets, I believe she is an East Coast gal like us. Her poetry has so much self-compassion. Gorgeous images here too!

June 7, 2014 - 8:59 pm

Laurie - Oh boy…the wind went through me when I read this. (I typed “react this” by mistake. Hmmm)

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