Tuesday, March 28, 2017

my steps

Stopped in my tracks, I marveled at my steps,
and wondered whether they were ever mine.
Looking down to the ground, my shadowed prints noted light and time.

We say we own;
we claim our paths and swaths and strides,
careers and conquests and empires.
But do we own our steps? Can paces be possessions?
I’ll say, “my footsteps;”
many days, “my weary way,”
and some days, “my strong stand.”
Steps are claimed, after they’ve been made.
But not before; not before some ground has been covered.
My steps are mine, because I tracked them;
they’ve made themselves known, after the fact, after impressions,
after I’ve looked back.

We say we take up space:
occupying, holding, amassing, grasping
that which is merely in motion, yet pulling rank.
Some of us are at will, in livelihood and home.
The provisional lingers, by our thoughts and steps remarked.
It is for journeying souls to note the jots and accents
of distances and times.
My steps are innumerable, in forms of trudges and slides,
tiptoes and leaps, tentative and bold,
minuscule and majuscule;
ever chasing traction, pushoff,
and sentences that run on and on and on.

Back and forth, uphill,
and so many stairs in office buildings,
treading the mills;
shall I consume the time to decide
whether or not my steps are squandered?
Well, I scribbled some words, walked and pondered,
finding that writing is the only retracing of steps
that cease to exist.
Backtracking is retracking, adding layers to buried steps.
What I own are my observations, not the places of their creation.
As with language, my place is to participate and alight,
but my ownership, my imprint
is to arrange and describe.

The ground of this momentary standing is borrowed.
Though my ground is not my own, I do know to remember.
A soul’s eternity endures beyond buildings, streets, and worlds.
I know not to claim the transitory for posterity,
yet I know to hold a thought and walk with it.

Memory enshrines the sweetness of the momentary,
the fondest steps among many,
from the missteps best released,
steps that are mine, so long as they are remembered.

A pilgrim’s steps so wisely know
direction and time:
it is forward, and at this moment.
Our feet as arrows edged to future paths,
are poorly designed for reversals and standing
as unused stanchions.

My road has no divided lanes
between sacred and profane,
as the sanctifying journey
distills all into the holy indirect,
meandering way.
My recollected words and pictures
are those of a voyager,
stopping in my tracks and marveling at my steps:
Looking down
to consecrated ground,
redeeming light and time.