Wilderness

Ahead it stretches, all around –

The wilderness, this unmapped land

A forest thick to infinity, and valleys so deep

The light doesn’t reach their hidden corners,

Where dark secrets grow in empty fathoms

Hollow, yet laying contentedly

In stillness, much unlike the restless

Chambers of your bleeding heart

 

Watching, you marvel in silence

At this vast expanse, your eyes wide

With a child’s curiosity, a fool’s fascination

A thudding in your chest, an aching rapture

For freedom stirs around the corner, lurks at

Mystery’s edge, where reality meets fantasy

And civilisation melts into –

The primal, the wild, the untamed

 

There’s almost no hesitation, almost

Your body is poised to run this proud race,

A defiant chase into the unknown, the mystical

A place where not even the wind dares blow

On some secretive nights when

The blinking stars turn out their lights,

Bowing with respect to the forces that

Surpass even stellar glowing royalty

 

You’re free, nearly –

You’ve come this far, wandering blindly,

Escaped the numbing bitterness

Of a past that clenched you, far too strongly,

As though your body was wrought just for the purpose

Of enslaving your mind, and for so long

As you dared draw breath, the noose would tighten

And fasten you surely to your fate

 

Yet now, at the edge of the wild, where

Your soul may escape and dance to the music

Of trees rustling and a thousand leaves whispering,

You pause in fear, a moment too fleeting

For an observer to notice, yet too long to escape

The seeds of doubt that find

Merciless roots in a heart still tender

From the iron brands of self loathing

 

For you heard the lion’s roar –

Just as inky twilight sank her teeth

Into those lonely roads, travelled upon

Too few occasions to even merit names

And timid you drew back, daring a glimpse

To where you came from, hopeful eyes once bright

As sunlit dew, now their fervour is dampened

By the chill night shadows

 

The seconds tick, though you’ve no measure of time

You stand caught as though by cobwebs,

Trapped by silky strands

There’s no shackle but that of your inhibition,

As undecided and alone, you remain both

Unsure of why you travelled, and afraid to discontinue

The journey you so eagerly embarked on

Those many summers ago

 

Then the heart stirs, its melody muffled

Yet steady nonetheless, for an echo of future promises

And past lessons hold you firmly fast,

With courage to wait the night and begin when dawn

Comes to robe you with strength, and the weapons

To fight when you’re alone in the wild –

It’s not cowardly to wait for morning,

But your wise heart’s newfound sensibility

 

— For those gems who’ve been my sunrise, giving me strength to chase my fears away.

Image: Twilight in the Wilderness by Frederic Edwin Church

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