The Way, by Mary Elyn Bahlert

If there was a path, I didn’t know it,
although I prayed for it to show itself, sometimes –
of course –
not knowing another way.
I took each step, afraid,
dead leaves crackling under me,
my heart, beating hard in my throat.
Sometimes I froze – did I stop too long? – I wonder now,
but I was alone, and sad, and so I needed to stop, sometimes.

If there was a path, the forest did not open its way for me,
as it has for others.
I was not given a map at birth, or a spoon, or even instructions
as to how to proceed.
I simply moved, because the years passed, and others moved:
I didn’t know what else to do.

I put one foot in front of the other and tried not to scream.
Sometimes, I held my breath, to hide the whimper in my throat.

I think of the others now.
Was the way easier for them? We don’t talk about it.
I think of the ones I left behind, images of me,
waving to them from the moving train, thinking I would see them again.
I did not.

Now you wonder why I gaze with sadness and delight at the trees,
the light flickering, days passing – so quickly,
why I think about those who are gone,
why I am grateful for my breath.

-Mary Elyn Bahlert, November 28, 2017

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4 thoughts on “The Way, by Mary Elyn Bahlert”

  1. Mary Elyn, I’m so glad your posts are appearing again. This poem was one of the best, vey touching and beautifully done!

    Like

  2. That is powerful! Linda

    On Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 10:03 AM, TheWisdomYears.wordpress.com wrote:

    > thewisdomyears posted: “If there was a path, I didn’t know it, although I > prayed for it to show itself, sometimes – of course – not knowing another > way. I took each step, afraid, dead leaves crackling under me, my heart, > beating hard in my throat. Sometimes I froze – did I stop ” >

    Like

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