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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hopping out of well-worn channels

I find myself captivated by the simplest images these days. The briefest scene will play out before me on the urban winter landscape and strike me as strangely insightful. This poem was inspired by such a seemingly mundane encounter.

It's been an especially snowy December here in Chicago. When the white stuff first piles up, before shovels and salt are brought out to clear sidewalks, those out in the elements try to find the paths of least resistance by stepping into the footprints of others who went before.

So it was that all geared up I walked along a narrow pre-stepped trail only to find another pursuing the same track from the opposite direction. As we neared each other, we both moved aside — our feet pushing into the drifts and leaving the well-trod middle path empty between us. After passing, we slid back into our previous stride as if nothing had happened.

I cracked a knowing smile at the apt life metaphor and concocted the following lines.

Two souls
By Francis Scudellari

Two souls
Treading one path
Narrow, solitary,
To/o vague destinations, seeming
Progress, slowed feet falling
On new-crushed snow,
Worn down

A sole
Channel, between
Pushed drifts, on either side
Opposed they stride, thought-lost, both blind,
Booted a-muck, slush splashed,
Drawing ever
Nearer

Until
Close-up looking,
Forced aside, apart, move
As one out to the untried edge,
Brief moment's lapse before
Returning two
Same rut
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