National Poetry Month: The Journey

Once upon a time, many years ago now, there was a guy that wooed me and won my heart through poetry. He knew what I’ve known, that poetry is the language of the soul. Former poet laureate, Billy Collins, wrote that “Poetry can and should be an important part of our daily lives. Poems can inspire and make us think about what it means to be a member of the human race.”

April is National Poetry Month. A whole month dedicated to poetry. For the next thirty days, I’ll be posting some of the poetry that has molded me and shaped me.

I start out with my favorite poem. While it’s difficult to narrow down my favorite book, I know what my favorite poem is right away. It’s “The Journey” by Mary Oliver. I read it in O magazine and was immediately struck by how much it resembled what I had gone through, was going through and probably would go through again. Every day we go on journeys and sometimes the biggest journey is getting out of bed and putting on pants. Mary Oliver’s poem inspires me and reminds me that I need to listen to that tiny voice in my head that tells me it’ll be okay and to trust that tiny, whispering voice.

I’ve posted this poem many times in many places. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

“The Journey” — 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 voice 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 that you could save.


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