Monday, January 09, 2006

An amazing poem!

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 it's 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 companyas 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

Wow! Never has a poem, or any written thing ever touched me so deeply. This actually touches my soul, and makes me cry. I can feel it in my chest! For so many years...almost 12, to be exact...I have been sinking deeper and deeper into this...I don't even know what to call it...quicksand! that is motherhood. I had always known women who only ever wanted to be a mother, or women who had gotten so into mothering that it was their whole identity. I never wanted that. Swore not to become that. I was always still going to be me, Lauri Smith, the friend, the artist, the social worker, the person who took part in Gay Pride parades and demonstrated against domestic violence in front of City Hall, the outgoing, outspoken person who wanted to learn and try something new every day! But as my time as a mother went buy, I could feel myself slipping away more and more. So I decided to give in to it...maybe that was the answer, because rebelling against it wasn't working! But giving in only made things worse, and eventually I felt like an empty shell. I literally could/might as well have been, a robot. Just went through the day doing what "normal" mothers do. Things my husband could have hired anyone to do. And every time I would try to venture out, I just kept getting sucked back in. But this past summer I decided something had to change...I had to have some individuality! I just couldn't function in 'mommy zone' anymore. Started back with my sewing and quilting and painting, and it didn't take long for that old 'artist spark' to come back! And it wasn't a spark for long. It rapidly grew into a flame! And when I get out at my little workbench, time does go on, but I'm in my own little world, my own little vortex, and virtually nothing can penetrate that. And that's a good thing...because it is saving me.


vicci said...

Lori....Don't you just LOVE Mary Oliver poetry!!!! It speaks to your soul! Have you read Rilke??? Try his poems....or Edna St. Vincent Millay. Hugs, Vicci

artjunk~ said...

Wow. I can identify with your post! In fact, this is coming out alot as I journal for AW. I gave up on doing things for years b/c I couldn't do both. I'm slowly coming back, but I still have to wrestle with guilt when I'm having "me" time. I'm making progress everyday though and seeing that other woman have "been there" gives me hope that I will persevere and give more time to my ART (which makes me SO happy)!

Misty Mawn said...

BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for sharing...but it wasn't the poem that touched me so much as your words did...honest and heartfelt...BEAUTIFUL! THanks!!!