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The Journey

Mary Oliver is one of my favourite poets. When I open a book, I am often drawn to her writing. There is something in the simplicity that is profound. She peels away layers in ways that help me see the world quite differently.

Father Richard Rohr comments that we live the first half of life in busyness and, if we are lucky, the second half is one where we slow the pace, contemplate, and find wisdom which helps us grow into the life we are.

Quite often, the voices which distract and the barriers on the road are ones I create. It takes time, patience, and support to find the light seeping through clouds. The stars’ make the journey hopeful, that I can go deeper into the life.

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.

About ivonprefontaine

I have been an educator for almost 20 years. Prior to that, I worked in private industry for 15 years, then returned to university to earn my education degree. For the past 11 years, I have been a co-creator of learning in a unique, progressive, alternative educational school of choice. Currently, I am engaged in a doctoral program at Gonzaga University in Spokane. A main theme in my learning there has been the roles of systems thinking, complexity theory, and organizational theory, and how they apply to education generally and the learning environment I share with students, parents, and colleagues.

13 responses »

  1. Beautiful thoughts and poem. It is often difficult to recognize our own inner voice because instead of us being mindful, our mind is full…of other voices and general hubbub of our hurried life. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. I love Mary Oliver’s poetry as well!!!!!

    Reply
  3. Beautiful and profound. Thank you for sharing. ~Tom

    Reply
  4. Love Mary Oliver, and what a perfect way to start my day! Your analogy as to her writing is spot on and I had never thought of it in that way, she peels away the layers and lies it directly at our feet. Yes, if we are fortunate enough in the second half of our life to see the stars we are doubly blessed. Thank you for these lovely words on this cold winter’s morning!

    Reply
  5. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    SHORT OR LONG, WE SEEK TO SING OUR SONG…!

    Reply
  6. Congratulations, Ivon! I have nominated you for an award. If you do not wish to accept it – no problem. Simply interpret this as my admiration and for sharing your wonderful posts with us all. ~ Amelia :) http://mungaiandthegoaconstrictor.me/2014/02/03/thanks-for-the-nominations-part-two/

    Reply

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