One day ….

 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 your 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 

recognised 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 “Devotions” 2017

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