One Day You Finally Knew

Although I never lived it, I miss the days when there was no television or even radio, when people of a certain sort reclined upon chaise lounges with a small book in one hand and a handkerchief in the other. I can only assume the handkerchief was for gently blotting away the tears that resulted from a moving passage. I miss when people memorized and quoted poetry, or passages from books, and when the contents of both were hotly debated. When a poem could be scandalous.

I feel like poetry today, so Mary Oliver it is. She has that quality I love in a poet – she uses a few simple words that everyone understands to weave these gorgeous scenes of nature and strength and love and compassion and the combination of all of it. Plus she loves the woods more than most, which I get. Please read the below all the way through. It’s so short, and today it’s exactly what I think Pearl at the Picnic is about.

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.

— Mary Oliver


About Betsy Tucker

I am a 40-something mom, wife, reluctant lawyer and occasional farmer with a desire to convince everybody in the world to just be who they are and let everyone else do the same. We’ll see how it goes.

2 comments on “One Day You Finally Knew

  1. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto
    a coworker who had been doing a little homework on this.
    And he in fact bought me lunch simply because I discovered it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But
    yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your internet site.

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