We see things all the time that make no sense. Things that set us wondering how they exist at all and this poem was made after I saw one such thing. We were walking up a very, very small mountain and I was wandering along one of its paths, when I saw this one particular path. I followed it and found that it led to the very edge of a high point. Below, rocks were tumbling down a steep and dangerous slope. Why did the path exist? I stood there with a thousand questions, questions there was no answer to, as there never is when we see something that doesn’t make sense. The only thing to do then, is to write a poem.
There are paths all over this mountain. They run through rock And over grass, As if a thousand feet Had worn them into the ground.
Some paths go on for ever, Winding up and down Until we can no longer see them. Others run a little way, Then stop.
We walk up and down these paths, Wondering who made them.
Especially do we wonder who made the one That runs straight off the edge of the rock.
We have a national park close to us which is a thing of beauty and which contains such loveliness, you have to make yourself go home. The park is on old ground and standing on it, there is that eternal feeling of all that has gone before and all that will come in the future. This park seems to include the sky as part of its sheer loveliness.
THE PROPHET AT MY ELBOW
Early Winter, and the geese are sailing In a long straight line down the river, Not knowing where they are going But going, anyway, Turning at the curve then coming back. By their side, the wind is puffing up Little drops of sunny water.
And as if the prophet was standing by me, I became aware of the immense blue vault of the heavens. Through the light of day, saw the hidden night, With one star blazing brighter than all the others.
My feet were firm on solid ground, Yet beneath them, I saw mountains biding their time, Deserts flowering, and lights of cities not yet built all shining, And the prophet, standing at my elbow, whispered, ‘Here is loveliness beyond all telling.’
Mid-winter, and the geese are sailing In a long straight line down the river. Their angry little eyes a snapping song of reluctant praise To the love that made them. And the prophet, standing at my elbow, whispered Of the steadfast love and hope that lives in all creation.
Old Friends and new friends, Lovers of the past and Lovers of the future, Tellers of long stories and short ones, Writers of diaries and letters, These are the quiet narrators Of those who share their journey.
Every single one remembered In one thankful dash of the pen. Ready to catch them On stone, papyrus or paper. Ready to be passed on from one to the other .
There to live again, now and for ever, At least, almost for ever.