May 24, 2010

A stolen poem by Mary Oliver


I stole this poem off of Kristin Russell's fabulous blog,  Hair In My Coffee. Check it out, she is posting chapters of her upcoming novel, Recovering Ramona.

I first heard of Mary Oliver when watching a CSPAN program about poets.  Mary Oliver is Catholic. I'm always delighted to discover someone respected in their field, whose faith hasn't snuffed out their creative muse, or vice versa; but has fired it instead. This poem isn't Catholic or religious even, but it's definitely human.

The Journey
Mary Oliver

One day, you finally knew
what you had to do, and you 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.

4 comments:

Anne Jackson said...

I am a HUGE MO fan!!
I read this and thought - wait, did I post this once? And I did!
http://flowerdust.net/2010/03/11/you-knew-what-you-had-to-do/
Seems to be contagious. :)

Heather Palacios said...

Awesome! Poignant & palpable. Thx for stealing it.

Josh said...

Very nice! Trying to fine-tune my own craft, it's so nice to read other people's work as well. Thanks for that! (feel free to re-blog my poems anytime! hehe)

Susan Isaacs said...

Josh: post me a link to your favorite(s)!

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