A sage and pupil made their way
Into a deep and darkened wood,
Searching and wandering places
Where for years no traveler would.
The underbrush, the damp-cool swamps
And thorny vines entailed their climb;
And countless unknown fruits hung from
The alpine trees of misty climes.
“One must be cautious when he treads
The mountain wood,” the master said,
This place is seldom journeyed through—
Its paths the city people dread.”
Time after time the frightened boy
Would ask, “Master, are we soon there?”
“The climb is bitter but the fruits
Are sweet,” was all the sage declared.
The trek went on for many days
Without a destination reached.
The student’s eyes filled with despair—
The forest had been barely breached.
But after many haunted moons
And after many darkened trails,
The student’s eyes filled with sheer dread
Like those of men whose strength soon fails.
Though un-phased by the boy’s laments,
The master stopped and calmly stood
Among the mountain pines, and said,
“There is no shortcut through this wood.”
David is a poet, translator and linguist based in Montreal.
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