Uncommon to these parts, he treads a path
Uncertain of direction, but he leaves
His past behind to walk this hallowed ground
In search of something diff’rent. Tracks that wind
And choke his mem’ry, each an olive branch
To offer peace of mind. Perhaps they would.

Yet aimlessly, he wanders through the wood —
What for? To find the not yet taken path?
And as he walks, he paces with a branch
He broke before and thrusts it at the leaves
Which lie in wake; leaves scattered by the wind
Now tired from dances; rest upon the ground.

His thoughts return — the churchyard and its ground,
The tiny chapel neat, with carvèd wood,
A pleasure to the eye. A gentle wind —
O’ how it sings to clear the cobbled path
Of Summer’s memories in browning leaves
That fall from glory from a lifeless branch.

He halts, thoughts disappear, a fallen branch —
A warrior of old lay on the ground.
Been there some time, among decaying leaves;
The smell of old, the fungus on the wood.
He thinks another time could change his path,
But undeterred, this sepulcher he winds

Around. He wonders how a bitter wind,
For some strange reason felled this ancient branch;
To die alone, this unfamiliar path
To somewhere else. The fresh untrodden ground
Gives up it secrets as a secret would;
To whisper in the ears then quickly leaves.

And as he listens to the sound of leaves
That fall in unison upon the wind,
They settle in the comp’ny of the wood
To curse the letting life of every branch
Whose presence casts a shadow on the ground,
Attempting to disguise the chosen path.

He leaves the easy path; forgoes the branch,
And though the wind still curses, treads the ground,
Whilst thinking what would be. He walks the path.

Ferrick Gray
© 2018