Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The whole house began to tremble.

I wrote yesterday that I know Mary Oliver’s The Journey by heart.

Well, I don’t.

I sat down on the edge of the bath this morning, reciting the poem aloud. My husband was shaving, I was rolling on those black tights, ready for an hour's walk in the rain.

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,

Did I? Do I know what I have to do? At least I didn’t remember the next sentence. There is something about reciting in public, though the audience could be just a single man. A man, I must add, whom I have know for years. And years.

There is something about bringing words into the public space. They might sound just perfect when held in the privacy of your own mind. But once they slip past the threshold of your lips, you don’t always trust them.


  1. You are doing gorgeous work here, Grete. I'm going to blog about it tomorrow.

  2. Sweet, sweet Beth - Thank you!

    Your words, your photos, your personality - whether expressed through a blog or a book - continue to inspire me. They stretch my worlds, inner and outer, heart and geography!

    Also they make me humble and grateful I live in the age of the internet.

    Big virtual hug!

  3. And how I know this. Is it worthy, we ask. Am I?

    I like it here.


    (And yes, yes, are these your pictures? Gorgeous. Of spirit.)

  4. I feel the same way about reading a poem out loud, it's not the same. Thank you for saying it in such beautiful words.

  5. Erin - are we worthy our own words? The question roars like a lion...Comforting then to think that we are but the messengers, not the message in itself...

    I'm glad you like it here, thanks for visiting! This is a new place for me as well. I wasn't quite sure how to decorate the rooms, where to place the sofa, what meals to prepare. With guests like you, Beth, Laura C. and others who so generously have paid me a visit, it feels more homely indeed.

    And Laura C., perhaps we should be more brave using our vocal cords. There might be treaures out there, that we don't know of yet....