The Journey: A Poem by Mary Oliver

Written by Braiden on July 11, 2011

The following poem, very much in the Five More Minutes With zeitgeist, was written by Mary Oliver, a National Book Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. It comes from her 1986 book entitled, “Dream work.”

After you read it, ask yourself, “Am I ready to turn off the noise, ignore the needs of others (at least for a little while), and save my own life today?”


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.



More stories from: Featured Poem,Featured Story

RSS feed for comments on this page.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.