I met Mary Oliver once.  She was as big as a minute and dressed in black.  I tried to tell her how this one poem had affected my life, but I know I failed.  

Becki gave me a silver cuff bracelet a few years ago with the first words of this poem engraved.  I wear it every day on my left wrist.  I don't believe in luck so I wouldn't say it's lucky.  It's a reminder.

I read it all today for the first time in a long while.  It's just true.  Thank you Mary Oliver.  Thanks Beck.  Thank you my dear friend Jody for this image we made together.

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 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.