With a nod to my Exponent sisters who first introduced me to Mary Oliver, I present this poem. It came to me and whispered its fierce message when I needed it most, as I feel it must for many who stumble across it as they ask the universe for answers. Synchronous and simple, it does what good poetry should.

The Journey by Mary Oliver

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.


Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

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3 Responses

  1. Deborah says:

    Love this poem and love you.

  2. Thanks for sharing Mary OIiver’s great poem. Life begins when we realize we are in charge of our own lives. We can learn from others, but we can’t let them make our decisions.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Wow, fantastic poem. Thank you for sharing!

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