Poetry that renders you awe-struck

Sometimes, you come across a poem or a story and it changes your entire perspective.  Upon reading it, an idea fastens to your mind and for better or worse, settles like a cat circling its napping spot.

Recently, a poem by Mary Oliver has been concentrically rippling in my mind.  I had never heard of her or read any of her poetry, but in the April 2011 issue of O, the Oprah Magazine, her poem, “The Journey” stunned me.  A work like this leaves you asking questions.  It makes you challenge your most base beliefs.  As any true work of art, it changes how you see color in the world.

“The Journey” by Mary Oliver, from her Pulitzer-prize winning book, Dreamwork.

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.

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One comment on “Poetry that renders you awe-struck

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