A New Year’s Poem

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Guari and Sherry at Guari’s 70th birthday party

This December we have had lots of birthdays and other wonderful celebrations with family and friends.  It’s been a joy, and now we’re moving into 2016.  Some new things are coming up, including a book I am writing.  I don’t make resolutions, but I do have plans, many of which require work toward personal and social transformation.

The following poem by Mary Oliver has helped me through various transitions in my life, and I’m reminded of it again now on this New Year’s Day.  I wish all of you the best on this day and throughout the coming year.  May this year be a turning point, a year in which we live and act in ways that bring spiritual fulfillment and hope for a world of justice, peace, and healing of the earth’s natural systems.

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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