Mary Oliver: The Journey

Kay Nielsen, He Gave Him Some Snowshoes

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

Art: Kay Nielsen

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One Response to Mary Oliver: The Journey

  1. Annie says:

    I love this poem, and the illustration you chose to go with it. For me, it expresses the courage to leave a dysfunctional family, if not physically, emotionally, as you discover your own way to live, free of their influence; not because you don’t love them, but because only they can save themselves. I’m glad you liked this poem.

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