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I am slow to take a backward glance,
Some who rest lose the forward horizon
Transfixed by miles past.
For momentum decays with ease
And blistered feet are far preferred to calloused “arses”.

My footsteps trace a lengthy trail
From catfish days on Missouri “cricks”
To hovering dust, both stale and fresh,
Suspended still where I just tread
At Coronado.

Decades old, yet ever-relevant
The footprints of a child track from my boyhood home in Liberty.
But the first stride is, by far, the largest of all
For it leads outward, onward, upward,
Where no word yet uttered brings justice to the moment.

That single step deposited me on Ocala’s cyprus shores;
Placed me at that Grecian temple where Aegeus, in tragic mourning, became the sea;
Brought me Persian-spiced memories in the souks of Bahrain,
Brilliant brass and bright dyed fabrics
Begging and beckoning “pass us not by”.

That fateful pace has taken me in
To where the sights, themselves, cannot be taken in,
The mind containing no scale for proper comprehension.
Subterranean terracotta in the frozen soldiers of Xian;
A Great Wall, built to arrest the march of Mongols
Now arrests the breath of the beholder;
Terraced emerald mountains at Banaue,
Sculpted by two thousand years
Of need and ingenuity,
Denies the eye a measurement
And defies all sense of scope.

That one forward stride captured the riches of Africa,
Claimed the wilds of Australia,
Placed my entire homeland into a travelers knapsack,
And pierced for me the veil of time
To bring me rendezvous with greater souls:
In Florence, the Masters became mortal,
In Galilee, the Immortal became my Master.

How many steps? A million? A billion?
A count without need.
Only the first step, and now the next,
Become central to the journey.

Eyes forward,
Tread on
Outward from Liberty
Toward greater liberty still.

Picture of Wes Stephenson

Wes Stephenson

Author, motorcyclist, poet, and adventurer. Let's journey together.



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