Monday, May 9, 2016

the wisdom of Mary Oliver

I wanted to share this poem as an expression of gratitude for Mary Oliver, a sage poet, a woman who lives the life I imagine possible for any of us, but oft left unlived.  I am inspired by all of her poetry, the accuracy of experience and feeling and experience and feeling.  This poem in particular is about the inner experience, the willfulness we can muster to live...  really live the lives we imagine for ourselves.  Living out one's own essential life requires a struggle, even if just the effort to rise in the morning, against the mundanity and uniformity, which so often blocks our entry into the magical experience of being human.

The Journey - Mary Oliver (from Dreamwork)

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.