tagNon-Erotic PoetryFollowing Paths

Following Paths

byronde©

Following Paths

By ronde

In the still quiet hours of morning
When the house creaks and pops in the cold
I lay thinking of a life gone by
A life of following unknown paths

I was an explorer of the vast uncharted lands of the forest
Following cowpaths through the trees to see where they led
Reading the signs and guessing their makers
Choosing which fork to follow, pressing deeper into the unknown
Looking back to make sure the barn was still there

I was carried away on cattle drives by a pony named Trigger
Following my herd through the sprawling plains of the pasture
Stopping stampedes and driving the herd to water
Bringing them safely to the rail head in Abilene
When she had to be milked and I had to wash up for dinner

I embarked on the sea of life, a boy pirate in a sloop of dreams
Following the girl I loved in fourth grade who wouldn’t kiss me
Following the girl in seventh grade who did after the dance
Seven years later, following the path into another unknown
When we walked arm in arm from the church

I followed the concrete paths of college seeking knowledge
Finding a little and thinking it was all there was to know
Then following the soldiers in front of me through a far off land
And learning how little I really knew

The road to home, the maternity ward halls
The waxed checkerboard tiles of a grade school gym
I followed those paths into the unknowns of life
And lost a piece of myself on the white runner-path
I followed at my daughters wedding

Now, I follow paths through the wide eyes of my grandchildren
A big-game hunter, killing pop-can lions, tigers and bears
A chef, master to the little brown-eyed apprentice with curly hair
Telling her it’s all right to lick her fingers and put them back in the cookie dough

Their eyes see an old man who likes to take naps
Who gives bear hugs and tickles their cheeks with his moustache
An old man who follows them through their rambling journeys around the yard
In search of flowers for Grandma and bugs to watch

I like the man they see through their eyes
He’s a part of me forged by doing and tempered by failure
A follower of many paths through the wilderness of life
They let me lead them for a while, but not for long
Already they run ahead because they need to know for themselves

The old man is here, young man and boy, too
Following paths into the great unknown
The explorer now searches the dim caverns of antique stores
Searching for priceless treasures lost for ages

Trigger is gone and so is the herd, gone on the winds of time
The cowboy remains, changed, yet the same
Dressed in bright colors and lizard-skin boots
Dancing close with that same young girl
In a cowboy saloon with neon lights and two-for-one beer

The pirate still sails the unknown seas
Steering life through uncharted waters and reefs
Sailing safely through most, running aground on a few
Then finding the breach in the coral cage
And landing the wreck for repairs

They’re all still here, though some would laugh
They’ll be joined by others as time flits by
Following the paths of life to see where they lead
And choosing which fork to take next

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