Friday, August 31, 2012

The Only Life You Can Save is Your Own

Andre de Dienes Marylin Monroe Undated

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.
--The Journey, Mary Oliver

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Amphibious Lullaby

Every night, they sing. We try to discern their meanings, imagine their conversations, picture them sitting by the hundreds in the moonlight, on the water behind the house, barely a breath, only the refrain, the chorus, the verse and the scat and the free flow and the improvisation. In the black of night, as soon as the sun goes down, they sit in rows and sing and sing and sing until dawn.


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