MarshA traveler was I on a grand exploration,
Boldly I went without due hesitation.
I leapt forth blind drunk on earnest pluck
And so it was soon that I found myself stuck.

“Damnable fortune!” the swamp heard me cry.
Too late I realized the firm land was a lie.
A mudhole, a bog, call it what you like,
It spelled only doom for my opt’mistic hike

“Perhaps forward still” was my prime consid’ration
And so I trudged onward with reserved expectations.
But my luck was away and my fears were found true,
For I earned no release; the soup held me like glue.

Leftwards, rightwards, upwards but down
Was all I could manage as I sunk through the ground.
“Why me? Why now? Why had there been nothing to warn?”
Thought I as gravity took me up into my arms.

I cursed and swore and cried in that spot,
That godless land on that forsaken plot.
“Bugger the landlord! Damn mother nature!”
But cursing neither name drew me a saviour.

After a struggle my pride gave up and fled
And I conceded: “Without rescue I’m dead.”
Young as I was I hated the task:
“I must cry out. For help I must ask.”

“Help!” I hooted. “Heeelp!” I hollered.
“Heeeeeeelp!” I yelled hearing no return caller
Except for the crickets and except for the breeze
and except for rustling swampland leaves.

Other wanderers came and other wanderers went.
They saw my stuck figure and my predic’ment.
Some went on their way, some helped me in vain
But eventually they all saw my fate very plain.

And as the day faded so too did my strength
And I realized I would be stuck for some length
Of time in the mudhole, swamp, mire or bog
Till nought but my bones were left with the logs.

“Please,” I croaked through paper dry lips.
“Anyone” I pleaded between crying fits.
A spectre I felt, a shade appeared on the ground
But when I looked ‘round there was nought to be found.

Despite my ears I heard the shadow then speak
It said nary a word and made nary a peep.
But it’s message was clear as its voice was grave;
The shadow promised I would not be saved.

Oh misery! Oh despair! Oh sadness and gloom!
Oh wretched, mournful, despondent doom!
Tears uncountable, wailing untold
Left me as my horrible conclusion took hold.

And then all was still… And I waited… And remembered
The young man I was when I began this adventure.
And I remembered how even when things seemed their best
I would know journey’s end and I’d lay down to rest.

I looked to the shadow, nodded, said “Aye.”
“I’ve accepted my fate. I am ready to die.”
The shadow then pulled me from my mud trap,
Laid me down on the ground and closed my eyes for a nap.

And then it moved onward leaving me behind.
It could never rest, there was never the time.
For a little ahead a traveler like myself
Had gotten himself stuck
And was crying for help.


A Youthful Prayer

May I be greater than my burdens,

May I know my demons and cast them aside,

Recognize my angels and draw them closer to me,

May I find the correct path amongst the dead ends and detours,

And may I discover the true keys amongst the false ones.

May I keep my promises and have promises kept for me,

Pay my debts and have my debts repaid,

May I live with honour and bring honour upon those I deal with

And may I teach and be taught with unchecked wisdom, knowledge and patience.

May my rivals bring me challenges,

And may my challenges bring me growth,

And may my growth push me to new heights,

Where new rivals await.

May life see me rich in good and poor in evil,

Wealthy in family and friends and love.

May I turn away from greed and ignorance and the other sins of lesser men,

And be sated instead with humility, generosity and compassion.

May my heart remain young while my soul grows old.

May I dream

And may I pursue the dream even when my legs cannot continue the chase.

May I always seek adventure,

May I never shy away from exploration,

May I be bold in the face of doom,

And may I one day grasp the stars I reach for.

May I stand tall against the onslaught that is woe,

Against fear, against anger, against misery,

May I be happy,

May I find peace.