If I could walk

There are many places I would walk
if I could walk:
country lanes disappearing over a hill
lush with green and sheepy sights;
sunken roads whose granite walls
loom tall on either side while eons of
travelers walk invisible by my side;
rugged stepping stones across a pond,
a rushing stream, a placid brook;
hiking trails of rocky scrambles
and forests telling dark tales of wonder;
silent, brooding ruins whispering stories
of wrongs done and rights done and
somnambulant martyrs sighing at night.

There are many places I would walk
if I could walk
but the hardest path to tread is acceptance.
If only I could soothe the angry child
who pushes me to try harder, not give up,
if only…if you’d just…then maybe…

There are trails, She says, waiting for you:
friths of mystery to be explored, calling;
remembered meadows, bursting in flower;
hills to be stood atop, contemplating
the wonder of the green land stretching
below, glittering in waning orange sunset;
of tall stones humming ancient songs that
set the earth spinning, taking me along;
of beaches in the cold and fog, strewn
with ghost glass and shining pebbles;
of sun and wind and rain and dew.

She accuses my reasoning, practical voice
of cowardice and forsaking, of accepting
a reality she will not acknowledge.
But the voice of reason toddles on—
a plodding litany of reasons why not,
urging what She does not wish to accept.
Between them I am frozen immobile,
dreaming of what used to be,
what might have been, and always
of all the places I would walk
if I could walk.

—PJ Thompson