Sunday Poem


The best part of a book of poems is the fact that you can pick up and leave off at any time. Unlike prose, which I tend to like to devour at long, deliberate stretches, a poetry collection can be opened and read in bits and pieces, from a few lines to a few poems. It’s especially nice at night, when you may only need a few pages to lull you into sleep, or on a Sunday morning, when you want a bit of beauty to open the day. This is another of Mary Oliver’s gems, from her 1986 collection ‘Dream Work’. It spoke to me for some reason.

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

thouh 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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