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.

Source: Being Alive, ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe, 2004

32 thoughts on “The Journey

      1. I hope you write again, I really appreciate your voice and visions. Many times that space away creates a new perspective and really needs to exist for clarity. Big smile for you!


  1. More than one journey, tonight, Crystal.

    Naturally, there’s the one described so lyrically above, which fulfills the necessary mission to improve one’s own mindset.

    Absolutely crucial, but Is that all there is, though? Maybe not. For only when we take that journey and find our own purpose, do we find also the means of helping others. A journey to nourish ourselves also nourishes, ultimately, the lives that touch ours. Yes, then, head out that door!


    1. Hello Dear Barbara! How could I be angry over such a lovely compliment from my beautiful French friend? It might take me some time, but I will respond. Merci! Merci beaucoup! The accolades made my day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lovely poem. I always wanted to write a journey poem. I really enjoyed reading it. Thankyou
    for this post


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