An American Mystagogue

The Wizened Man




Once, upon a  forest path
Walked along a youngly boy
Who many children thought was daft
But who was filled with joy

In truth the boy was quite uncanny
In practice and in wit
He had run fast from his Nanny

Who after chasing (a time) had quit

The boy adventured to the Deep Woods
A place he knew from long ago
The images he saw in books
Were lead compared to nature’s gold

It was there he spied the hermit
Sitting on a boulder, still
The boy thought he looked most learn-ed
But couldn’t move, he lacked the will

The wizened man spotted the child
But did not seem to move at all
Equanimous and also mild
The man produced from air a ball

The child gasped in astonished glee
And begged the man to show again
The trick that instilled boyish greed
For baubles and happenstance

But the hermit did not move
Did not even meet the eyes
Of the little boy who crooned
And cried and whined, told truth and lies

The boy did cause quite a stir
And wanted that the man should act
The man instead ignored the bur
And waited for the boy to collapse

With meaningless tears, the boy sat
Upon the forest floor of moss
No longer a buzzing gnat
Or gnawing winter frost

The hermit looked into his eyes
Sitting on his boulder perch
Pointed at the sky
“Do you know what that is for?”

The man did not wait for reply
But pointed at his pointing finger
And let out a big and gusty sigh
“I should in truth, not tarry, or linger”

“You see my boy, I am a wizard”
Said the old and wizened man
“I can shift shape, survive a blizzard
Doing  things that others can’t”

“I can see your thoughts,
and change them too
but I can explain them not,
unless the Words you also knew.”

“But there are some things”
Professed the man
Swatting at a fly that stings
“Even you have shoulders to bear.”

“I give you questions, not a ball
What is shape? and what is change?
What does it mean to survive at all?”
With great force his voice did strain

“What do you mean when you say you “see”
Let alone what is called a thought.
And for Jove’s eternal peace
Find the source of Change, and lots”

And with these words the old man rose
And gathered his meager possessions
The wizened man, away he goes
With questions his procession

– Seth Moris

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