The Forest Man

The Forest Man

In the Forest of Antiquity I found what I had sought
through battles I had fought,
with violence obscene.

Amid the tangled undergrowth in dimly dusty light,
his eyes were strangely bright:
a phosphorescent gleam.

Beside a dark unsettled pond I met this troubling man.
Before my plea began
a distant echo called.

I asked him what is Happiness and where it can be found,
no matter how profound:
turn pewter into gold!

He smiled at me with serenity replete with ancient lore;
I’d encountered him before,
a lifetime ago.

When he looked into my fervent eyes he somehow knew my fears.
He’d known them many years–
he knew what lay below.

I wondered how he saw in me my dim ill-nourished soul.
How could he behold
the source of my distress.

The answer I expected was entreating me to prayer,
for that’s the usual fare:
the treatment, more or less.

“Your journey is your destiny” was all he would respond
as he stepped into the pond,
and returned from whence he’d come.

For untold years I could not see the simple truth he’d told;
sadly growing old,
frustrated, blind and numb.

Gradually my memory of that encounter failed–
I knew my ship had sailed.
My passion did abate.

Until the day I passed away and understood my bond
with the wise man at the pond,
the reflection of my fate.

MARK GREENLAND

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