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  • By David B. Gosselin

Journey Through Mountains: The Waterfall, Mastery and Details

The Waterfall

“So noisy are the towns and villages,” remarked

The sage as he and his young pupil made


Their way across the bustling thoroughfares,

Heading toward the mountains and the mist.

The boy, only accustomed to the sound

Of rustling towns and city happenings,

Half-listened as he looked ahead toward

The snowy mountains, so near, yet so far.


Rising from earthly surface to the sky,

Piercing the sprawling cloudscapes up above,

The glistening peaks arrested his young eyes,

Their crests adorned with all the elements:

The pristine snow and careless alpine winds,

A gentle frost and pines that fear no cold.

But back below and far from busy towns,

After trekking for many quiet hours,

They heard a faint and playful murmuring

Beckoning them toward the leaf-dimmed light:

Soon, deep amid the forest’s evergreens,

Solacing caves and gnarled untrodden paths,

They found themselves before a waterfall

Whose rushing cataracts and foaming floods


Somehow inspired in them the calmest thoughts.

“The truth, though men forget, is never lost,”

Said the sage as he and the boy sat down;

They watched the foaming floods rush on for hours.



They walked across the rickety old bridge,

And made it, at last, to the other side.

Surmounting gaping chasms far below,

They crossed the fear-fed gorges and abysms.


Alas, the gnawing fear and ravenous dread

Had only just begun to rear its head.

“Master, the end seems but the beginning,

The beginning the end, there’s never here,

Here’s never there; yet we’ve already climbed

So many mountainsides and trekked along

So many paths—should one not choose to live,

Instead of seeking what may never be?”

“The danger’s only going half the way,”

Said the sage as he watched the dim-lit stars.

“How to become a real master, then?”

Questioned the student as he trailed behind.

“There are no masters,” answered the old sage,

“Just students of the sacred Word and Way.


“For, those who fail at being masters have

Not failed to reach their long-awaited goal

“They’ve failed at being students,”—the sage smiled,

Then disappeared into the bamboo groves.




The sage and boy sat on a path which lay

Atop one of the highest mountain crests.

Yet, neither sage nor boy looked down upon

The star-like speckles they knew as their towns.

Rather, they looked above, gazing upon

The star-strewn skies that blushed with unknown fires.

“So many stars and mountains, crests and sky,

Are we not fools to think that we can know

What underlies such intricate designs?”

Asked the boy as he eyed the twinkling schemes.

“The Truth is simple,” answered the old sage,

“The details infinite.” And then he paused,

“Pity the ones who can’t distinguish them,

The captives of their own clever designs.”

Turning his gaze towards the nameless skies,

A glint of starlight shining in his eyes,

The ancient sage looked on, “The wise remove

All that which blinds them to the simple Truth.”

He gazed upon the distant starscapes high

Above, musing upon their twinkling fires.

Read and listen on Age of Muses

David Gosselin is a poet, writer, and translator based in Montreal. He is the founding editor of The Chained Muse and New Lyre Magazine. His epic in iambic blank verse, Athena, appears in New Lyre Magazine—Winter 2024. His ongoing series of philosophical poems, “Journey Through Mountains” is an ever-expanding poetical journey, currently consisting of 25 visions, which he periodically posts and reads on his Substack.

12 comentários

19 de fev.

I am a great admirer of David Gosselin’s poetry, and I find this series of philosophical vignettes and poetic visions to be very impressive. I think it would be very easy to write a philosophical and/or spiritual poem that comes across as being pretentious and over the head of your average person. The poems in “Journey through Mountains” are not like that, however. It is as though David has come down to your level and proceeds to take you up to his own.

I love all three of these poems, but I confess to being particularly partial to “The Waterfall”. The following line deeply resonates with me:

“The truth, though men forget, is never lost,”

The wisdom conveyed in this…

20 de fev.
Respondendo a

Thanks for the response, David! I appreciate it. You’re very welcome for the comments.

I had never read that particular quote from Robert Frost before, and I like it a great deal. It is indeed artistically edifying. I think you do an admirably fine job of writing in that spirit.



17 de fev.

There's not much I can add to Martin's comment except to say how much I like these poems and how much I look forward to seeing them all together in a single book.

If poetry is memorable wisdom - and what else can it be? - what else could we value more? - then David has surely hit on the archetypal situation for displaying and dispensing that wisdom. The teaching and acquisition of wisdom comes as naturally to mankind as do mountain streams to a mountain or 'leaves to a tree'. It is that most natural aspect of mankind which distinguishes him from the rest of nature and yet at the same time most unites him with it.

19 de fev.
Respondendo a

That sounds wonderful, David! I wish you great success in all of your endeavors.

- Shannon


17 de fev.

My favourite of these three poems is 'Details'. I love the wisdom of that sixth verse: "The truth is simple" ... "The details are infinite". That really appeals to me. I also like 'Mastery'. I read it carefully, and at the end I couldn't help thinking of what James Joyce said when he had condensed the whole history of mankind into Finnegans Wake. He said: "I know very little. I am still a student." But a very remarkable student indeed! ( One who knew his limits, his precise task, and didn't fail.) Well done, David.

David Gosselin
David Gosselin
18 de fev.
Respondendo a

Thanks Stewart! Plenty more coming. David

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