Nov 1, 2012

Finding your own voice

I've been rereading the book ‘I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was’, by Barbara Sher. It’s a wonderful book and I’m planning on reviewing it later. But now I just want to share a simple poem that is (partially) in this book (In chapter 8 – ‘I want something I shouldn’t want – it’s trivial or unworthy’), and which I find very inspiring. Perhaps you already know it, but it's always good to remind its beautiful and powerful message...


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 ~


  1. I love Mary Oliver's work - and I think this one might be my new favourite! Thanks for posting it... I shamelessly copied it into my journal so I can let it sink deep into my heart.


    1. Hi Shelley,

      I’m so happy you enjoyed the poem :) I too find it extremely beautiful and inspiring…