That Time I Was

That time I was a lean and lonesome lad,
leery of the lawless ways of man, the ones
who made this maddening maze — not these,
but older ones who some say came some time
before: bringers of knowledge, bringers of war.
Before I was a bashful boy, with body borne
to brighten in my days, to climb and happy play
above the red dust haze, to scale a magic mountain
far beyond the human gaze, to praise strange morning
mists there, the meadows mourning in the mystic rain,
the lazy clouds lingering in mid-air beneath a brilliant
sun-shot blue, leaving looming shadows meandering
between the glistening trees, or drifting over gleaming
snowfields steeped in frosty sheets of silence, at peace
amidst the soothing stillness of the frozen fallen leaves.
Yet as I aged the wages of mere knowledge wearied me
and wore me down; curiosity’s consuming quest for more
was a worthless war which I could never win, nor could I
find a foothold in the wisdom I so craved, so I caved in.
Thus became my wisdom: not to know, nor wish to know.
Now this old dust mop drags itself from room to room
within the mansion of this majestic mountain: the laughing
stream room, the tall pine tree room, the rock and crackling
fire room — all these dreamy spaces aren’t too difficult to find,
no need to look outside myself, they’re here within my mind.

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