Retreat

By Martin Falatic
Written 1997-03-14
Revised 1997-03-19

Thoughts scurry across the consciousness,
     running high on hope, they twist and turn,
          enriched by every passing moment.
Surety in the face of impossible odds.

The heart fearlessly bounds ahead of the cautious mind,
     like a child in a new, exciting place,
          exploring limits beyond limits,
          peering into the hazy windows of closed gateways,
          striving to find something beyond itself, beyond reason,
               the essence of hope unveiled.
A finger of doubt grows from the unknowing,
- the chaotic boundary between what is inferred and what is fact -
it lingers, like the haze on a hot summer afternoon,
     a distant early warning of storms yet to come.

The child-heart strays ever-deeper into adventurous speculation.
Crude boundaries, the hallmarks of unheeded caution,
     stand like barbed wire in the path of the jubilant wanderer.
The heart bounds effortlessly over each of these snares and traps,
     following a vision that has become increasingly fantastic:
          one part premonition, two parts knowing, three parts hope,
The vision endures; the journey continues.

Some barriers are low and easily ignored,
     but one is taller, more forbidding,
          with sharper barbs to guard the frontier beyond it.
Careful scrutiny gives way to careless ambition,
     and the child-heart leaps as high as it can...

A leap of faith...
The storm breaks...
The child-heart falls stunned and wounded to the ground.

Although superficial, the cuts sting bitterly...
In sadness and confusion, the child-heart begins a hasty retreat,
     back to the safety of the mind's watchful eye.
One cannot blame the barbs for teaching patience,
     nor the child-heart for unfounded hopes:
          these are the property of the living,
          the lessons learned and built upon,
          the trials that mold and shape who we are,
          and who we will become.
One can only consider the retreat itself,
     for it is an admission of doubt, an attempt to regroup,
     a time for healing wounds and planning new strategy,
     a time of decisions: to forge ahead... or to give up?

Foolish is the one who, chastened by their limits,
remains in retreat until the threat of change
     and the hope of progress have long since passed.
Wise is the one who reaches out boldly yet again,
     armed with deeper understanding and conviction,
     ready to endure the rigors of following hopes and dreams
     despite the unknown barriers yet to be reckoned with...

Some time later, the child-heart faces the forbidding barrier again,
     the wounds now healed, still remembered, now considered,
And leaps...
And continues on the path of discovery,
     wherever it may lead.

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