A Poem to Set you Free


The Bird Nest by Linda Apple

This poem by Mary Oliver has been near and dear to my heart since I first came upon it in the book : Ten Poems to Set You Free.  Before I was finally able to find the courage to speak up about what I wanted in my life and assert my own needs I would go to the bookstore ( B&N) which is something I’ve been known to do all my life.  Somehow walking through the shelves of books, touching the bindings, or reading the back jacket made me feel safe and comforted.

One of these many afternoons I found myself in the poetry section and this little blue book with a nest on the cover seemed to beckon me to open it.  I opened it directly to this page.  I remember my heart beating more quickly as i finished it, and a flood of emotion welling from me and I read it again and again as I just sat there on the carpeted floor in the safe haven of this poem that said it all, and I wept for joy…. it really did help set me free – nothing else could have explained what I was facing so eloquently… my family had no hope of surviving if I continued to remain a ghost.  This poem gave me the courage to do what I needed to do, and I hope it speaks to someone else out there today.  XO

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 ~

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