A Poem by Mary Oliver

Through my Yoga practice over the past 8 years, my teacher and dear friend Yvonne at The Shanti Yoga Center, opened my eyes to poetry. We can use poetry as a way of exploring how we operate and move through the world.

There was a time, more than once in my adult life when this poem had powerful meaning to me. It spoke of my experiences and gave me a gentle reminder. I hope you enjoy and remember, there are many ways to nourish yourself, and perhaps this is just another way.

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 ~

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2 Responses to A Poem by Mary Oliver
  1. Susan Lowman-Thomas
    November 16, 2010 | 7:52 am

    Thank you for reminding me of this poem from one of my favorite poets. After the death of my husband, I struggled and struggled, finally finding healing in my writing. My grief counselor told me I have much work to do and to get on with it. Oliver’s words reinforce the importance of an artist’s staying focused. We all have much to do. Thank you.

  2. admin
    November 16, 2010 | 11:15 am

    Hi Susan, thank you for your lovely comment and sharing your story here.

    I understand how difficult the grieving process can be, and how each one of us manages through it so uniquely. I am glad you’ve found some solace in your writing. Keep it it up.

    I think the last line of the poem, really brings it home, don’t you?

    Thanks again for your comment,
    Warmly, Dianne

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