The Way

          At first a mere thread of a footpath half blotted out by the grasses
          Sweeping triumphant across it, it wound between hedges of roses
          Whose blossoms were poised above leaves as pond lilies float on the water,
          While hidden by bloom in a hawthorn a bird filled the morning with singing.

          It widened a highway, majestic, stretching ever to distant horizons,
          Where shadows of tree-branches wavered, vague outlines invaded by sunshine;
          No sound but the wind as it whispered the secrets of earth to the flowers,
          And the hum of the yellow bees, honey-laden and dusty with pollen.
          And Summer said, "Come, follow onward, with no thought save the longing
            to wander,
          The wind, and the bees, and the flowers, all singing the great song
            of Nature,
          Are minstrels of change and of promise, they herald the joy of the Future."

          Later the solitude vanished, confused and distracted the road
          Where many were seeking and jostling. Left behind were the trees
            and the flowers,
          The half-realized beauty of quiet, the sacred unconscious communing.
          And now he is come to a river, a line of gray, sullen water,
          Not blue and splashing, but dark, rolling somberly on to the ocean.
          But on the far side is a city whose windows flame gold in the sunset.
          It lies fair and shining before him, a gem set betwixt sky and water,
          And spanning the river a bridge, frail promise to longing desire,
          Flung by man in his infinite courage, across the stern force of the water;
          And he looks at the river and fears, the bridge is so slight,
            yet he ventures
          His life to its fragile keeping, if it fails the waves will engulf him.
          O Arches! be strong to uphold him, and bear him across to the city,
          The beautiful city whose spires still glow with the fires of sunset!

This poem is in the public domain.