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Free Song

One day
you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices
around you kept shouting their bad advice:*

"Be like me -
this is the only way
to be -
like me
is the way
you can be

But you knew in your heart
knew in your bones
that the job of thee
was not to be
like any other "me"
but thee

And so you packed up your bags
and hit the road
wandering long
and hard
up mountainsides
down dark valleys
and slippery slopes

You stopped to rest
to drink in the beauty
of a tree
or to listen
to the pain
of another
to find truth in your experience
adventure in the faces you met
along the way

You loved the teachers
and guides
who showed
what they knew

And yet,
at some point,
you always packed up your bag
each time
to rejoin the path
though the destination was unclear
though the lure of easy answers
always called out
in your weak moments

But you kept walking
all along
as to the nature
and the purpose
of this journey
in this body
called you

in this body
called me


Sharron Mendel
November 29, 2002

*From a Mary Oliver poem called “The Journey”

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