On the Pleasures of Barrett (Part 1)


DIFFERENT PATHS
By Tom Barrett

Hiking the high cliffs,
my friends clamber over rough
stone up to the high peak.
I, spotting an unused trail,
choose a different path.
I’ve heard
“there are many paths to the summit,”
and I trust this is one of those.
But this is the lonely way.
This is the slippery trail
on the cold side of the mountain.
I am alone, except for the few footprints
 in the kneedeep snow.
No one to guide me but unknown strangers
who have trekked this way before.

I begin to wonder,
Have I been a fool?
Will I lose my way?
Is this a true path or some
way to where I should not go?

Climbing higher, the trail is scarce.
Thorny bushes slow the pace.
 But I sense I’m closer to my goal.
I reach the peak before my friends,
but see them coming not far below.
And up ahead, another ridge,
a higher peak,
a mountain glowing in the sun.

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