The Journey (Mary Oliver)

Introduction from Alison:

This poem is about letting go, for the many people who have contemplated divorce for a long time and have finally made their decision, or those who are about to make their decision to really go through with it. It acknowledges the conflicting feelings and opinions of others that one might face in the time leading up to this decision.  The poem can also be reinforcement for those who have already decided – reminding them to stand strong and remember the thoughts that caused them to choose this path and to bravely stay their course, now that the path has been chosen.

The Journey

By Mary Oliver (1935 – )

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.

— from Dream Work, by Mary Oliver

A beautiful poem about rediscovering yourself after a love relationship ends is Love After Love by Derek Walcott.

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