by Mary Audrey Kneipp
(Inspired by Robert Frost: “… The woods are lovely, dark and deep,/
but I have promises to keep,/and miles to go before I sleep, …”)
It wasn’t the woods that beckoned me,
but roads and other towns.
I ran away from Mother when I was 18,
I was old enough, I couldn’t stay.
I had to leave the verdant hills
and early-summer skies;
the tree I climbed each day
to write my poetry;
the open land where no one lived for miles;
the brook beside the washtub
where I bathed in summer-scented wind.
I had to leave, I had to get away.
With thumb out, I trod the highways,
hitching rides with strangers
until my journey ended in a little town in Georgia,
where my best friend Sarah took me in
and I began my life again—three jobs hired
and fired like tumbleweed.
At my last one, a factory,
I scribbled stories on my breaks.
At the end of that year another town,
a lovely college town,
but for my wanderlust
I couldn't stay.
Outside of yet another town
the forest found me, and the woods
were truly dark and deep.
There were always roads and other towns,
but I in dreams remember
my deserted paradise:
a wide-open land of verdant hills;
a tree where I dreamt my poetry.
Edited by Sharmagne Leland-St. John