A Poem: Marking the Path

I carry ribbons
in my pack of days.
And when I reach a tree to define my path,
I tie it round, mark a lesson,
towering high.

I wish it were so easy.

Not the ways trodden with regrets,
wisdom learnt in retrospect,
footprints already settled deep
in earth –

and the journey,
turning turning.

That the colour glimpsed between tree leaves
are ribbons hanging,
limp on trees
that have not moved.

But in my pack are red, pink,
each shade of blue,
and sunshine yellow.

That to feel the bark
like a friend old,
is to tie the colour of the heart split open,
to the measure of its love and need.

Perhaps I will not be fully there
until all is red,
and the journey understood as progress
not defined by distance,

but by how we circle the labyrinth
deeper in.

Although I had thought to see new scenes,
with lessons learned behind,
this old ghost with its green leaves,

fresh growth of bark on trunk,
I mark with red threaded with
the wounds of life –

 the sign of a heart laid open.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
May 2020


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