Commentary: The Journey

Johanna Shapiro, Ph.D.

In this poem, the narrator goes on a journey. But this is no first-class pampered excursion, filled with luxurious beds, culinary delicacies, and enchanting vistas. Rather, the narrator is harshly extracted from her place of comfort and security, “cradled in the earth,” by implacable forces of nature. The use of the passive voice (“I was flung”) only emphasizes the sense of helplessness and unwillingness with which this journey is begun. The groundless physicality of the imagery continues through words like “tumbling,” “crashing,” and “falling.” This journey is one without a parachute, life vest, or seatbelt, where the traveler ends up submerged in violently roiling water among “jagged rocks.”

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