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Down a stone paved path I go
shoulders hunched against the damp.
My pace becoming halting, slow
staff secured by old hand's clamp.

The path follows a river's way
beneath huge beech and 0ld birch trees
where on most days squirrels might play.
Today they hide from frigid breeze.

My trail is bordered by thick ferns
growing above cool dense green moss.
Somewhere ahead a lantern burns
which offsets my sense of loss.

And with every step I take
I leave my past further behind,
every triumph, each mistake
grows dimmer in my troubled mind.

Cold fog settles on sparse hair
while leaving sequins on my coat
and runnels on a head now bare,
hair gone without any note.

Up ahead some structure looms
through the thickening fog and mist.
As I draw closer it assumes
a bridge tall and proud, without a list.

The lantern seen now beckons me
to the bridge's near side end
where an old ferry used to be.
What might this appearance portend?

I stop, stand, squint and stare
toward the river's other side
but can't see what is over there
across these waters still and wide.

Straining to hear some silent words
or see some glimmer in the dark
There's naught but quiet perching birds.
Now my choice stands still and stark.

For the pathway continues on
beside the river deep and wide
or I can turn and greet the dawn
on this portal's other side.

Silently I contemplate
review my journey up to now.
Which direction brings which fate?
I must decide but don't know how.

But soon will come another day
I decide and take the step...

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content
Opt-in: Neopoet AI will critique your poem.


Hello, Stan,
Your poetry always lets me walk quietly beside you - taking in the scenery or your expressions - always wondering what you're thinking as you walk along, studying the surroundings. It's very panoramic. I can see every direction - the path ahead, your footsteps behind, the depth of the evening sky. It's always so crisp and vivid. But more importantly, it's always so inviting.
Thank you!

I am always please to find you have walked beside me

author comment

that your poems deliver many of us to
a land not often visited by many.
People are just too busy to get out there in the woods.
As always, I walk alongside of you to these special glens
and visit with the squirrels and see the life of the forest.

I think that you could use a little tweaking of the last stanza.

"Silently I contemplate
review my journey up to [now]
Which direction brings which fate
I must decide and decide [now]"

You could get rid of the last two lines altogether
and it wouldn't hurt this piece at all.
~ Geez.

There is value to commenting and critique, tell us how you feel about our work.
This must be the place, 'cause there ain't no place like this place anywhere near this place.

Always good to get you out of the house. You know by deleting those two lines It would be a repeat of letting last stanza stand with just two lines which I did to add impact. But let me think about it and see what happens (likely get a head ache from thinking). How are you doing up there in Yankee land?

author comment

that we've heard the last of Old Man Winter! After tonight, we are supposed to have melting temperatures and rain, so away goes the two feet of snow we just got in the last couple of days. About time! Of course, he could always roar back with an Easter storm, like a time or two I remember, back in the sixties; but I really think it's over now. How are you down there in Dixie? ~ Geez.

There is value to commenting and critique, tell us how you feel about our work.
This must be the place, 'cause there ain't no place like this place anywhere near this place.

everything blooming but then it turned cold which likely killed all my peach and pear blossoms. We are predicted to have some freezing weather still to come. We didn't have any snow which was disappointing. Been fighting off a respiratory infection for over a month but its getting better. Grandson brought it home from school then gave it to his parents, Susan and myself. But other than that we're doing OK

author comment

I love your walks off the beaten path! I live not far from a state park on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. we used to walk around in the park and sometimes picnic, always taking our garbage back with us. you would be surprised at how many do not clean up after themselves. I can no longer make the treck because of my knees.
i wish for gentle journeys for you noble wordsmith, please be well. my favorite lines are:

And with every step I take
I leave my past further behind,
every triumph every mistake
grows dimmer in my troubled mind.

*hugs & love, Cat

When someone reads your work
And responds, please be courteous
And reply in kind, thanks.

But sometimes its a good surprise lol. Have you checked into having injections of lubricating fluid in your knees?If they'd had this before having my knees replaced I'd have tried it but too late now. You stay warm up there.

author comment

I tried it and it lasted about a week. I have degenerative arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. thank you for being thoughtful.

*hugs, Cat

When someone reads your work
And responds, please be courteous
And reply in kind, thanks.

there are things I guess we just are forced to live with

author comment

Thank you for the time to read and leave such thoughtful comment

author comment

It always feels like I’m there. I spend a lot of time in the forest when I need to think and I’m sure that’s one reason why these are so cool to read. You have a natural ability to convey images with emotions through your writing and it’s always a little mysterious and uplifting.


It is good to know others sometimes share my path

author comment

As I read this (I did so twice) many things came to my vision and most of all this poetic write made me think of a beautiful Thomas Kincade portrait. It told a story just, like he did with his paintings. I really like the road you walked and the river so wide you could see the lantern on the other side. And I loved this poignant part...

"Straining to hear some silent words
or see some glimmer in the dark"

Reminds me of times now that I strain to hear and look for the glimmer in the dark, especially when the moon is full and shining on my pool water...

I sit on my porch alone a lot now, as Mom and Dad are gone and I think about all the coffee and talks and all the fun we had sitting on the same porch that I still sit on..just only alone now. It is too quiet now and I am left with such beautiful, yet sometimes sad too, memories of those days gone by and my heart aches.

I love how your poem took me on a journey and quite honestly it brought me to tears. I do not know why but it hit something I am also missing in my life at this time.

But we must take the next step is exactly right...

Good job Stan!


Good to see you back on a page of mine. I am also pleased my chicken scratching brought back some good memories for you.

author comment

It's all been said before me. I see our walks are joined by shadows in the mists. I see a poem growing from your poem and the comments.

This is up there with one of your best. I have always wondered is our fate fixed or can it be altered. Could I have averted the pain in my life or was it meant to be. I'll never know. But it's been pondered on since time began.

Magnificent poem bravo!

Much love Sis xxx

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” — W.B. Yeats

Good to hear from you. I am chuffed at your kind words. And yep we have both had our share of pains haven't we? How are you doing don there as autumn approaches?

author comment
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