On the Pleasures of Barrett (Part 1)

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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