Friday, May 1, 2009

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 starts 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

I posted this poem for my very first post, back when I think my dear Katie was the only one reading (and now she's been joined by a handful of others, for which I am grateful).  I posted it because one of my professors read it for the opening devotional in our first class of the semester.  The same professor read it again for our last class, as our benediction, and its meaning changed for me, even in those three months.  I also quoted it in one of the papers I wrote today.  Now that I am one partially completed paper away from a seminary degree-this poem continues change and grow in its significance in my life.  

Do you have favorite poems that mean different things to you as you revisit them at different points in your life?  Isn't that what great poetry is supposed to do?  

Tomorrow morning I am off to North Carolina to visit a friend from college.  By Monday evening I will be back in Atlanta and finished with all the requirements for my MDiv.  Then I'll have one last week in the city for packing and visits before my family comes for graduation and I follow them back to Texas.  Wow-that sounds weird.  

Well, off to finish my last paper.  Crazy!

1 comment:

Jess said...

I will have to give the poem idea some thought but surely certain songs do that for me. ;)

And is there much difference between beautiful lyrics and a beautiful poem?