‘The Journey’, by Mary Oliver


One day you finally knewwhat you had to do, and began,though the voices around youkept shoutingtheir bad advice–though the whole housebegan to trembleand you felt the old tugat your ankles.‘Mend my life!’each voice cried.But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,though the wind priedwith its stiff fingersat the very foundations,though their melancholywas terrible.It was already lateenough, and a wild night,and the road full of fallenbranches and stones.
But little by little,as you left their voices behind,the stars began to burnthrough the sheets of clouds,and there was a new voicewhich you slowlyrecognised as your own,that kept you companyas you strode deeper and deeperinto the world,determined to dothe only thing you could do–determined to savethe only life you could save.

‘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
recognised 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.