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.

by Mary Oliver

3 responses to “The Journey”

  1. Paula Avatar

    How timely, coming across this site today, thanks to an old college friend posting it on Facebook. This poem mirrors the past year of my life so aptly, alludes to the 11yrs in my case, that led to its undoing and finally, the new ‘voice’ that emerged from it(even if it actually took losing my own voice – and my mind for a while – physically, emotionally and psychologically, to find it again, in altered form – traumatic for a performer, like losing a limb, but the welcome back is sweeter for it)! Thank you.

  2. Barbara Avatar

    Wow. Doing this with family of origin now. Most painful thing I’ve ever had to do.

  3. Deb Avatar

    One of my favorite poems. It gave me the strength to leave my husband and move on with my life. How are you doing woman?

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