Within a dream I woke, a darkened path
My feet follow the road shouldered by wild infest
I confess – I could not see further than a figure
Blocking my way, hooded and cloaked
A trick of the trees I assured – of mist and smoke
Which would put me at ease – if it then had not spoke
Words wrought in thought and founded in flame
A literary furnace – forged in a blaze
The heat of it’s verse impossibly placed
A verbal curse spoken from an invisible face
A case of dark mystery – misconceived as a choice

There is no retreat – proceed to my voice”
“What might I find if I do?”
“Would this be intriguing at all if every traveler knew?”
“So let’s say I stay…”
“Why – then you will never progress”
“I have no desire to be subject to tests”
“Believably so, but you are already in the middle
If you do not like tests, then we shall make this a riddle”

My efforts made no difference – but the figure definitely heard me
They would preach their indifference – yet they still wish to herd me
down some dark path unknown?
I will not be coerced into decision
My mind is my own

Despite defeat and decision, the dream lingered on
The forest grew darker and any dim light had gone
Minutes turned into hours and hours into days
Had my defiance led the figure to trap me in place?

“Trapped is an interesting turn of phrase”
I stared about startled, unsure what what my eyes might find
I hadn’t even spoken – yet the figure knew my mind?
“When the road still leads forward and your path has been laid”
“Interesting that you say my path – I didn’t request it
I won’t bow to your bidding, so grant me my exit”
“You disservice yourself, pity, your promise was rare”
“The only promise I’ll make to you is that I do not care for your words
Or for what I have heard-  Your forest is a figment and for all I care
It can burn”
“You are so human it is sickly, you are toxic and stubborn
only a short sighted snake of a being would ‘choose’ to be trapped in
an oven”

Without flint of forewarning the forest burst into flame
The timber fractures hurt blindly as splinter sparks flew my way
The path began to crumble,
And I fell from the road
Into thickets of fire which gave orange glow
As I crashed into the deep-wood
I thrashed for some space
Until I came to a stop – and there was the face
The blaze lit the figure, the robes fell away
The road shone with the heat of an Icarus fate
Shaking in a ruin that was of my own make

“If it’s any conciliation, the test is over – and so is the dream”
“I’ll be glad to see the back of it – I didn’t care for the theme”
“You do yourself injustice, this could have gone so well
You turned your walk into this forest into a tumble through hell”

As the final heat rose – I caught a glimpse of the figure
Now robe-less and bare, the whole dream finally triggered
“You were me all along, weren’t you? You would not lead me astray”
“Let your choices here be a lesson – we shall not meet again”

© Thomas Grice, 4/07/2017


2 thoughts on “The Path We Tread

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