he came upon
divergent paths
that stretched beyond
the road he’d trod

intersected at this fork

he would go forth
this was his mind
but had no notion
which way that was

he studied choices
considered options
and still the way
eluded him

the direction remained vague

bending low
he examined close
the footprints etched
in each traverse

the roadway right
was sparse with step
the trail left
was printed plenty

he stooped and pondered
he knelt and wondered
he stood straight up
and scratched his head

caught up in this quandary

now leaning in
with great extreme
nose to dirt
with the evidence

it came clear that those
who journeyed left
were light of weight
and bare of foot

left went the unfortunate

while those engaged
in rightward travel
wore finest boot
of tapered heel

the privileged way was right

looking down
at his attire
he saw neither lace
nor tattered coat

he thought on this
for quite some time
until at last
he knew for sure

the way that he should venture

reaching in
his leather pouch
he grasped and freed
his knife and axe

he started neither
left nor right
but instead
went straight ahead

he hacked and carved
and blazed a trail
a pathway west
for those who’d follow

the rugged individuals

he was wise in life
possessed of logic
he realized
just where he stood

the threshold
of a new frontier
too raw for culture
too brute for weakness

these were not the favored traits

those that would
survive and prosper
would be among
the strong and brave

those inclined
to choose this trail
so full of promise
made by his hand

with spirit full
and muscled zest
he hacked and chopped
and cleared the way

for those to follow
who were empowered
to seize adventure
in this bold new world

this world meant for the ready

as he worked
he laughed and sang
and dared to dream
of a newfound land

to those like he
who shared his spirit
embraced his vision
he bid them come

this pathway to new eden

rob kistner © 2008


art above entitled: “Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers Through the Cumberland Gap”
by: George Caleb Bingham 1811-1879

• • •






trail forked this spring morne
white-tails chose the woods instead
always more options

rob kistner © 2008


• • •



~ by Image&VerseToo on January 20, 2008.

58 Responses to “Pathway”

  1. Too often these trailblazers are not given credit for their courage, their vision to give up conformity and blaze a new path. You have captured the essence and the heart of these bold men and women and built them a home in our hearts. I imagine you as such a man as one of these. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for your comment Rob. The key is self-awareness.

    I’ve been to the Cumberland Gap, it’s hard to picture the past there.

  3. loved the concluding line in the poem but i really really liked the haiku. it represents a general about being in a crossroad of life. nice ponderings.

  4. Haiku was very good.

  5. I cannot imagine the drive and bravery of the trailblazers. While it’s appealing to think I might have been one, I know in my heart that I would have chosen the safety and comfort of the well-trodden path.

    Thanks to your wonderful writing though, I can imagine what it must have felt like to have chosen to plot my own unique course into the unknown.

  6. Once again you’ve shown us how it should be done! Fantastic and inspirational.

  7. this was expertly done rob… i do have to say that this particular line put me in mind of the disappointment i felt when i moved to california….

    he hacked and carved
    and blazed a trail
    a pathway west
    for those who’d follow

    the rugged individuals

    it seems as if the rugged adventuresome spirit has been bred out in favor of organic vegetables, holistic medicines and politically correct mannerisms…. and i wondered,, if their forefathers are not spinning in their very graves……

  8. Very nice. I love these lines “he stooped and pondered
    he knelt and wondered”. For some reason that just summed everything up for me. Very ‘visual’ poem.

  9. If you forgive me..I say..

    Damn GOOD!

  10. 🙂 I hope to follow the path of the adventurer, scares me to bits…but I intend to take along a friend who is willing to shove me in the right direction…too chicken on my own! Shame on me!

  11. Very nicely done. I love the fact that he chose a path that nobody else had dared to travel. He was independent and strong willed and now had founded a newer path. Your Haiku is also very well done.

  12. Very Nice … and so inspiring.. I loved the traveler.. his courage, his vision and his sheer will! Beautiful tale

    At the crossroad

  13. Cool response! The haiku and photo give new meaning to forks! Nice!

  14. I love hacking out a new road beyond to whatever. Certainly is the road less traveled as it were.

  15. Excellent as usual. I can identify a little bit with this having emigrated. Just have to replace the last bit with “a pathway to New Zealand”

  16. Adore “too raw for culture” + “too brute for weakness” – Love the parallel layers here! At first, the poem seems to travel the usual comfort zones of choices, then, like the “intersection” itself, suddenly the shock of “another way” gathers momentum. Loads of Robert Frost echoes seem to create the initial comfort zone, and then, suddenly, the poem finds its own voice!

    Just great!

    Smiles and Light

    P.S. Loved the haiku too, but somehow felt greater spiritual dialogue with the first poem!

  17. Brilliant as always. The pioneering spirit that helped defined the western U.S. is needed today to help some of our most dire social, economic and environmental problems.

    The haiku and picture says it.

  18. Brilliant!! It’s autobiographical isn’t it!?!

  19. a trailblazer is always admired…because iot needs courage to pave a way where there was none…this poem really spoke volumes…to me 🙂

  20. This was so good….I was pulled in and couldn’t stop until the end. I loved it!

  21. That was excellent! Very vivid.

  22. Though tough to take on a new path, it speaks volumes on his confidence levels….hacking a new path, loved these lines. Your haiku is very good too 🙂

  23. Brilliant as always. The complete package of verse & image … beautiful!

  24. I like the spirit in your trailblazing poem

  25. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for inviting me to the island. I was moved by your pioneering spirit and like how the pictures go with your words. Great job! Take care,


  26. I love the first piece, wery nicely written. The stanza,
    the roadway right
    was sparse with step
    the trail left
    was printed plenty

    immediately left me thinking “which path would I choose”. My heart told me right, but the safety in my mind said left. I never even thought of center as an option…..interesting and very telling. Thanks for getting my brain to work with such a beautiful piece. I have to get back to my creative side.

  27. That is gorgeous! I didn’t even breathe while reading the first piece!

  28. (I was puzzle at the beginning by the “left and “right” path”…because I often choose left…on a true road 🙂 )
    To build your own path…. Love it!

  29. I was leaving a comment and it just disappeared! Anyway, I was saying:
    with spirit full
    and muscled zest
    he hacked and chopped
    and cleared the way

    that’s the only way to go! i think we all travel on the same path,our own path, essentially, it all meets up at some point…

  30. Marie –

    Thank you for the kind words…

    I have generally lived my life marching to my own beat…
    or in my wife’s word — “stubbornly”… 😉

  31. Brian –

    Thank you or the input.

    It is difficult to ‘see’ the past much anywhere east of the Mississippi — that’s why I moved to the Pacific Northwest. The land is younger here — still alive, as is the history.

  32. Totomai –

    Thank you!

  33. Rambler –

    Pleased you like it.

  34. Robin –

    Thank you… 😉

    From what I’ve learned of you, your life reflects much adventure and personal strength.

  35. Keith –

    You are most kind…

  36. Paisley –

    That rugged individualism is still prevalent here in Oregon — along with organic vegetables and holistic medicine… 😉

  37. Constance –

    I appreciate your kind words… 😉

  38. Gautami –

    You are forgiven — and thank you! 😉

  39. UL –

    Venture forth my friend — life is short, and the world is big… 😉

  40. Jadey –

    Thank you very much — you are kind… 😉

  41. Preethi –

    Thank you for the kind words — I’m pleased you liked this piece!

  42. Tumblewords –

    Thank you… 😉

  43. Mary T –

    “To boldly go where no man has gone before!” 😉

  44. Marja –

    My wife and I have fantasized a few times about becoming Kiwi’s — but we’ve been warned that the welcome mat is out to visitors, as long as you don’t come to stay?

  45. Gemma –

    Wow – you are most kind! 😉

    I was going for a Frost-esque kind of pastoral feel in the beginning — and kicked it a bit when he finally decided to take a chance and trail blaze.

  46. Herb –

    Thank you — and I so agree with you… we need to find a fearless and wise leader SOMEWHERE to show us a way out of this wasteland old “W” is leaving in his wake!

  47. Chris –

    Thank you… there is a bit of me, and my wishful image of myself, embedded in this piece.

  48. Thinking Aloud –

    I am very pleased this piece reached you… 😉

  49. Karina –

    Thank you — I am pleased the piece engaged so… 😉

  50. Forgetful –

    I appreciate your kind words… 😉

  51. Prats –

    Thank you!

  52. Redness –

    You are most gracious… thank you! 😉

  53. Juliet –

    It is the spirit of adventure, discovery — once prevalent here in America… but hard to find today!

  54. Bob –

    I am pleased you came to visit… and thank you!

  55. Michelle –

    Your words are most kind… 😉

    That should then be your spirit of adventure and discovery — blaze a trail to your creative side!

  56. Glynis –

    You are most gracious — thank you!

    I trust you’ve caught your breath… 😉

  57. Catalina –

    It’s the only way to travel — “your way”… 😉

  58. Jen –

    I love your optimism — but regrettably, I feel this world, especially the U.S., is quickly turning into a land of sheep. We have forfeited our individual voice and gumption.

    I hope this next generation will have the spunk to reverse this decent into apathy!?

    Just my humble opinion. 😉

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