Green Hills Literary Lantern



Two Paths


diverged on a trail
and I took the wrong one
suggested by a bicyclist
who spoke little English
but offered a map
politely if I’d like
but I refused which made
all the difference since
I was now miles
from my car having
hiked up instead of down
through the brush from which
I’d forged smitten
with the beauty
of yellow woods
boulders with more eyes
than anyone could use
and abundance
of many still green things
growing beside others
gone downright gray
and stiff near year’s end
thistles for instance
and trees like witches’
claws saying go back
while you have a chance
and the poison oak laughed
when I aimed my camera
at its withered pointless
crimson leaves
which is to say
I’ve learned a lesson
or two along the way
accept a map from anyone
wearing a helmet
which probably proves
they’re planning to keep
their head about them
and also I realized
poetry only gets you
so far even if written
by a venerable poet
who probably made up
the whole thing

Perie Longo, Poet Laureate emerita of Santa Barbara, California, has published three books of poetry: Milking The Earth, The Privacy Of Wind, and With Nothing Behind But Sky: a journey through grief. Her work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Connecticut Review, International Poetry Review, Nimrod, Paterson Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, Quercus Review, and South Carolina Review among others. She is on the staff of the annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and as a psychotherapist, facilitates poetry for healing groups with Hospice and other agencies.