Monday, March 19, 2012

Meter Monday: Mary Oliver

When I was in college there were many times that I needed something to lift my up by my bootstraps and keep me going. As I worked the reference desk in the library, I kept finding hints to read the work of Mary Oliver. I followed the breadcrumbs left by trusted travelers that went before me. And I found the pieces of nourishment I needed in several of her poems. One of them being:

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.

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