Poem: Pathways

Did you ever learn about orienteering
in school, in scouts, or as a kid?
Being given a map by a grown-up
and told to find your way
towards treasure,
the campsite,
or home.

Did you ever look at the terrain;
the contours, chasms, and cliffs,
and wonder which was the fastest
or safest
path?

Lately, I could’ve done with
remembering such skills;
knowing what lay ahead was full
of adventure
and loss;
of wonder
and pain.

But I remember the folktales
of ancestors old,
meeting different gods of love
at each fork in the road.
In my mythology, Ares and
Aphrodite were one,
who had the power to show me
three futures:

One showed a life all expected to see.
One showed a life where I was renewed and free.
One showed a life where selfless love saved me.
But entry to each was not without its cost.

To those same gods I prey, with
compass in hand
that the path I’ve chosen delivers me
to the Promised Land:

This path, like the others, I shall not walk alone,
but I’ll cherish the Others for their love I have worn.

Cork, 20 November 2022

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