I saw a man walking towards or away


I’ve seen this in forests, the odd bike
so long ago leaned and left against a tree
that bark and limb have grown round it,
entangling the spokes and frame,
tree and bike, one becoming the other,
or the cars forsaken and rain-glazed,
growing old and older beside the lonely road,
driven and abruptly ditched (I love you;
I love you not), rusting back to earth,
or the farm picker,
forgotten in the field,
jilted on a hill, now concealed
and circled by sapling sentinels.
I want
to know
the story.

What thought,
or love,
or searing grief
caused you to stop
so suddenly, to still,
and turn away forever
from what was yours?
Did you finally meet
your yearned-for yes?
Or crushing no?
What sent you spinning
on that shiny dime
from one life into another?
And were you walking towards or away?
When you left home that day
on your bike,
in your car,
seated on your metal plow,
what encounter, what manifestation
or moment’s metanoia,
what flashing bright insight
shot you from your seat
with such unforeseen and instant force?
Did a bush burn before you?
Did a voice call you beloved?
As you walked into your sudden
and surprising choice, did your heart
uplift, feathered, swift? Or was sorrow’s
footprint stamped in every weighty step,
marking a trail of regret? Did you once
look back
or whisper farewell?

And as the forest curtain closed behind you,
or the wheat unbent its golden stalks
to stand once more upright and tight,
or the branches curled round
your bike, claiming its abiding love,
did someone else turn off a light,
already knowing
you would never return?

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

8 thoughts on “I saw a man walking towards or away

  1. I find it incredible how each life is unique, and each person has such complexity both within and in relationships outside. So many different stories and preferences and events. The sheer volume of stories in humanity at any given point in history is just unfathomable…


    1. Isn’t it? I think it’s what I miss most about my work as a spiritual care provider in hospitals and hospice: the profound honor of hearing all those sacred stories. When you listen deeply and without judgement, it’s just amazing what stories people will share. Spelunking mystery together.

      Thank you, Yacoob; your comments are always so perceptive and sensitive. They always open doors. I hope you are safe and well, my friend. Gentle peace to you and your beloveds.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that fun to do?! I love these surprises, too, and the stories they lead me to create. Thank you for the kindness of visiting, and gentle peace to you.


  2. Kitty, this is just stunningly beautiful. How you have managed to write such beautiful and touching thoughts about a simple, abandoned bike or farm plow, I don’t know. But you just took me on such a journey of wondering, and my heart has broken for the abandoned and forgotten. You are truly gifted. Thank you for your writing.


  3. Thank you so much, Jeanne! How kind of you, and how you’ve fluffed my poetic feathers! Whew! Such compliments. I’d better reread all my early attempts at this one and regain my humility. 😉

    I do imagine so many stories about the things I see on my walks. It truly makes me happy to hear you walked beside me for a time. Thank you. XO


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