Build Your Day

Some days need just a poem to get you started.

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
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.

–Quinn McDonald loves the spare power of poetry.


9 thoughts on “Build Your Day

  1. Hi Quinn, just popping by to catch up, (been without internet at home for 8 weeks) A friend gave me this poem when I was making some big (and really good but difficult) changes in my life. I felt very touched by her support of my changes via this poem, it still brings tears to my eyes.

  2. Quinn, this was exactly what I needed to read today. Too many demands draining strength better used for more authentic and genuine needs. Love that you were in tune and sent me this reminder – thank you!

  3. As I continue to work through this path of procrastination….this poem is the one thing to get me started…thank you…
    As they say…when the student is ready, the teacher appears…

  4. I just made a copy of this Mary Oliver poem and when I saved it, I found I’d already placed it in a file. It’s a good one! Thank you for sharing!

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