The Road

Tis Poetics night at the Bar tonight and Bryan has set us a wonderful challenge.

“Today I would like you to “cover” a poem by a poet whom you admire. Honestly, I don’t know what this might look like, therefore this prompt is fairly open to interpretation.”

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Here is my attempt at a cover of Mary Oliver’s, The Journey

Photo: Maria Savenko. Creative Commons BY-SA (cropped).

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It dawned upon you then

that you must act and you did move

despite the nagging voices

calling you to take no such risk

though the world about you began to tumble down

and gnawing doubt whispered

‘stay safe, stay here with us’

you moved anyway


though the wind bit hard and cold

and your footsteps were heavy

and those voices pulled you back

into safe discomfort

‘The day is passed

There is no time

The wild night builds a barrier to your path

Go back’

But step after precious step

you walked

and they did not

the night sky revealed itself

and you remembered

with clarity

who you were

and heard just that one voice

and as you strode deeper and deeper

into the new dawn

passion burned within

and doing the only thing you could do

saving the only life you could save

was all there was left

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23 thoughts on “The Road

  1. Bryan Ens says:

    I’m currently reading “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. In this book, there is a Jewish man who is urged by his family to escape, while they themselves stay where they are and are captured. Your poem is an echo of that part of the story. Sometimes, the comfortable thing to do ends up being the worst possible option.

  2. Grace says:

    Beautifully inspiring, both Mary’s poem and your own response ~ I love it when we listen deeply to our own voice, and making that journey to save our own life ~

  3. Truedessa says:

    You turned the journey into more of a quest, taking each step listening to that intuitive voice within, even if the road is dark and dangerous, reaching a place of safety.

  4. kim881 says:

    I like the way you have reduced a very long poem into a much more economical one and not lost its essence, Paul. I like the way you’ve conveyed determination. I particularly enjoyed the lines:
    ‘The wild night builds a barrier to your path’
    ‘the night sky revealed itself
    and you remembered
    with clarity
    who you were’.

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