Tuesday, July 5, 2011

When I need to be reminded...

When I need to be reminded that life is good, that I choose what I give attention to, that if I rein myself in, watch my own simple sphere of existence and leave the loudness and harshness behind, I turn to Mary Oliver's poetry. At times in my life when I can become easily overwhelmed by the unknowns, I often come back to this particular poem, and I regain that strength and faith in the orderliness of the Universe to give me just what I need. Some days the journey is more difficult than others, but when I read this, I am reminded that we are all on that journey and I am not alone.

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. 
© Mary Oliver.