Leaving the Path
Through a dark and silent wood
a path, well trodden, winds
its way. A hard-worn passageway
that would, to many minds
be tested by the times
and trials of travelers who’ve
for clear its way and deep its groove
engraved upon the forest floor.
Many, many miles I trod
along this path, upon my seeking
way. And well it served me,
if it could be said to serve at all,
in search of some illusive God
or gods, who might deign to answer,
should I call.
Yet one day, the brightest flower
caught a ray of sun
beside the path,
which with an unexpected power
lured me off, into the quiet wood
where that one
little flower, laughing stood.
So on I wandered
through the trees
and stones and rivulets, and pondered
why a faithful pilgrim flees
the trodden path
for unknown treasures found
within the silent woods around.
Each ventured step, I thought, would take
me farther from the traveled way.
Each turn aside would make
it harder to regain the well-worn
path while yet the sun star
gave its light in bright array.
And then I saw through evening mist,
away, upon the edge of sight
the narrow way I’d thought I’d missed,
and would not find ‘ere fall of night.
But, strange to tell,
I did not turn again upon that path
though easily I might.
In this quiet, lonely wood
I found an old and wild truth –
Any traveler who would
step off the trodden path
and wander in the greenwood
at its side, could
a greater treasure find
than on the noblest pathways of the mind.
© OakWyse, W. William Melnyk, 13 September 2004