Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 1: On the path...

(I have been absent too long. My apologies. In an effort to make it up, I am planning to post five short posts, one each for the next five days. Each will involve a photo and brief text. Let's see if I meet my goal.)

A couple of weeks ago, while visiting my parents, I received an e-mail inviting me to join an online "poetry party". I used to write poetry fairly often, usually in times of suffering when I could find no other way to express what was inside of me. However, I had not written a poem in a quite a long time and I found the idea intriguing. I had a bit of extra time, in the motel late at night or when my parents were dozing, and the invitation included a theme. The theme (posted on the website was to write of great journeys you have taken or dreamed of, the markers along the way, the risks you must take.

I found myself writing that first night in the motel. I say "I found myself..." because it just seemed to come out of me, without a specific plan or idea of what I was going to write. In fact, it did not even seem to be what I considered my usual style of writing. Yet I wouldn't want to give the impression that it was effortless. I wrote a number of lines and revised them, later revising after re-reading it, repeating this process many times until it seemed complete. I realized as I was writing that I am on a journey. Of course, we all are and I have been all along, but I hadn't thought very much about my life journey in recent years. I have been fairly settled in the routines of how I live my life, with the questionings of my youth no longer so urgent.

This poem, unlike the poems of the past, was not born out of suffering. I am still listening to it as I often "listen" to the things that come forth, wondering what it has to tell me. I would like to share my poem with you, so that you can listen too and perhaps write your own poem. (A word first about the image above: if you read my June posting, "You will show me the path..." this photo/quote may seem familiar. However, this image of the path is a bit different: narrower, winding and with rougher terrain. A new perspective on the journey?)


which way?

there are many paths…
or perhaps just one.

looking ahead,
i see my path.
the signs all point that way.
i plant my foot firmly on the road.

a moment later, i look up -
everything has changed!
all of my landmarks are gone.
in their place are
strange new signs i cannot read.

i want to pull my foot back -
perhaps this was a mistake.
yet my other foot pushes forward,
as if it knows something i do not.

i scan the horizon for some
sign or signal to assure me.
ahead of me, there is vast emptiness.
looking back, i find there is nothing.
there is no way back!

i panic.

knowing nothing else to do,
i look down to the earth beneath my feet.
i kneel.
… i see something there:
a tiny seed, planted long ago,
only now beginning to sprout.

my labor begins.
i cultivate the soil,
watering it with my tears.
the little seedling grows,
its tiny leaves opening one by one.

soon laughter and hope,
like sunshine breaking through the clouds,
warm the seedling’s roots
as they grow deeper and deeper
into the earth.

then come the blossoms,
too beautiful for my eyes;
then the fruit that nourishes me,
before dropping to the ground
and becoming new seed.

the path – it is within.
it always was.
and so my heart follows,
into His abounding joy.