Poetry on a blog about life’s best practices?  Yes, the best poetry has “a precise choice of words that will have implications and suggestions that go past the words themselves.” Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (1988), at 229.

My friend Jan Gravel read a poem to me the other day.  I rarely make time for poetry, but this one simply exploded for me.  It’s entitled The Journey, by Mary Oliver.  It can also be found here.  Read it out loud, if you have the opportunity.

Thanks, Jan, and thank you, Mary.

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.