The Long Road




As I cast my wily mind back to the day we left the desolate north
heavy smoke fills my lungs. They burned fires of thanks
for our departure, and we did not look back.

We were destitute and directionless.
Some of us, the luckiest,
had a cart, perhaps- a blanket
some scraps of food, a timeworn lute, and nothing more.
Most left with only the aftertaste of hatred in
dry mouths, and a fierce desire to fly.

Our road was long.  We sometimes stopped, but were not welcome at the resting places.
Shrouded faces refused to meet our eyes as they pushed us out of the shade.
Every hand motioned West,
away from where we’d come from and where we were.
So that is where we went.  

We went West into the setting sun
and further West into the rising stars.
Many died, but I do not wish to cry tonight, and therefore I 
will not speak of their bodies by the wayside, nor will I
speak of how they smelled, and how our hearts bled watersheds of sorrow
as they drowned in the unpredictable sea of hope...

But now, let us smile.
Can you hear the westward songs we sung?  
Can you feel the westward dances and hot sweat around the fire ?
Can you see the westward whirl of wheels,
or taste the dust between our chipped and westward grinding teeth?
We knew the direction of paradise and thought that we could walk there.
Each step was a promise, and our jubilant hearts beat as one
as the land grew green and cool, and the rivers grew sweeter and
more pure. 

It’s true that some of us began to weary of the westward path.
Many stopped to build new lives, and yes they were happy
having learnt new trades to ply.
But some of us carried on.
To this day, I do not know why but we were unstoppable.
We traveled until the land itself fell away in exhaustion,
and deep waters consumed every chance of further progress.

And there, at the very edge of possibility
we watched as the sun hit the ocean like a fireball
creating, in its descent, a bridge of fiery light that only the wisest of us were able to cross.
No one knows where they went.
And the others, you ask?
  
We turned back from the shores long ago.
But if you listen closely to our whispers
there’s no telling what you’ll hear.

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