Heaven's Farthest Gate
A delicacy of tumbleweeds somersault over chafed desert
A dry wind flickers past rusted cans
A sun obliterates the emerald sky.
I seek the solace of a single tree
Each shred of shade but a mirage --
Again, and gone again.
Sitting upon a dusty rock,
skin calked with sand and sweat.
A tear drops to the ground,
a last bit of moisture which I feel I cannot spare.
From that very tear struck spot
a small green shoot appears
And then bud,
A tiny floweret,
that soon unfurls its azure robes.
Within each petal
Dew drops flowing into rivers
My face reflecting upon the watery surface
A youthful visage belying age and work.
Stepping inside the cool transparency
the river running,
Streaming to a scented pool,
from which to sip, to rest, and ultimately...
It is the same desert spot,
The illusion came and gone.
I am still parched, still spent.
Dry roads crisscross touching to infinity,
Looking out at horizon's edge to wonder why.
But with no choice to choose
I stand with aching joints
Stumbling past one more random rock.
A patch of lilies
blooming in a dry ravine.
A few more steps reveal a willow branch
And beyond its sleepy the curve a stream from which to drink.
The sky softens to turquoise red
And gentle stars touch the ground
As sparrows flock to pools of rippling silver lakes
And rain floats a misty cloud through every blade of grass.
What was the flower that I passed?
Surely it was a dream,
the kind of fancy that comes to men --
when hope has sighed a long last breath.
What if I had stopped?
What if I had not strode fourth another time
To see what was just beyond that other bend?
What if I had stood my ground
upon the bleak and lonely spot?
But such questions quickly went their way
as I picked up my staff
and walked past this Eden spot
To take yet one more step...
Beyond Heaven's farthest gate.