row for your life toward it

This is one of my favorite poems. It reminds me of the quote, “To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight”

May we all first slow down and listen to Mary Oliver, just long enough to start listening to our own real voice.

May we be free from suffering.


“You are young.

So you know everything.

You leap into the boat and begin rowing. But listen to me. Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me. Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to me.

There is life without love. It is not worth a bent penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied.

When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight, the churn of the wateras it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the sharp rocks – when you hear that unmistakable pounding – when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming – then row,

Row for your life toward it.”

~Mary Oliver