I received this poem in my email this morning, and, because I’m a Mary Oliver fan, I thought I’d share it. I also found a YouTube video of MO reading the poem, and I’m moved again. This is one of my favorites. It not only describes how I feel about my younger years growing up poor in a small, podunk town–with nothing going for me except I was decently smart and could go to college–but it also shows the battle we’re having as educators. At what point do we say to heck with all this and get out? I’m really hoping I can keep up this pace and outlast the crazies who are in charge right now.

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.

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