We Are Voyageurs, All

(Note:  This is an edited version of the poem Self-Delusion, originally written in May of 2014.  The imagery was inspired by a dream of a wagon traversing the prairies carrying the individuals described.)

Obsessed, she presses onward,
feet digging in, body sweat
blackened by relentless dust
swirling in the prairie heat;
she is fatherless, widowed –
charged with the command
of horses, and everything,
and everyone – she is a pioneer
bent on delivering her cargo
to a promised land.

Wounded, a body lies
curled, shamed –
only straw for a mat –
teeth clenched in pain
determination overriding
suffering – feigns sleep,
braces against jolts,
stifles gasps – bravery
a necessity – longs for
a destination, an end
to the bleeding.

Laughter bubbles up
between bouts of fear
and boredom – children
bear the bumps, try
to be good, but the ride
is never-ending –
youthful spirits yearn
for cool waters to splash in,
ache for games of hopscotch –
cannot control the spontaneous
bursts of adventure – bear no
sense of responsiblity, trust
unwittingly in the journey.

A young man has visions,
sees beyond the confines
of wagon walls – senses
purpose, smells gold,
passion raging –
a fighting soul,
willing to strive,
fearless – rails
against the trappings
of obligation, held
captive by elders –
is overlooked.

The faithful seek inspiration,
all-believing, hopeful,
prayerful – caught in a web,
pleading, asking, forgiving,
accepting and wondering –
What can I give of myself?
What does God want?
Am I not good enough?
How have we sinned?
Are we being punished?
Must we bear this cross
to be received in Heaven?
Help me, they pray
to be more worthy,
more deserving,
when Judgment Day comes.

A mother worries,
cares, hopes for the best,
caters to all – in many ways
still a child herself – bears
each experience with borrowed
strength, selflessly focused –
drawing, drawing
from a well seldom replenished –
tired, oh so tired
she carries on.

Frail, the aged are wise
have endured adversity
surrendered to the knocks
know that in time all things pass
guard their wisdom with silence
acknowledge the value
in each journey
in each interpretation
understand that delusion
is commonplace and
destination is temporary –
recognize the power of now;
are patient and accepting
that life is as it is.

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