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Lost in Paradise
“Which way is it to Paradise?
Which is the fastest and shortest route?
How long does it take, will I be there by evening or by sunrise?”
The aged vagabond didn’t flinch once at the youngsters questions,
he calmly sat in the radiant sun,
that flooded warmth into his skeletal frame.
“Please guide me friend, there is no one around.”
The old man scratched his scraggly beard,
he squinted a little bit, looked like he was laughing from within.
“Do you really want to get there so bad?” enquired the vagabond.
Looking straight into the eyes of the youngster.
The eager and naive eyes said it all, where his heart lay.
“Go around the hills and across the valley,
go to the other side, you can camp there if you like along the stream.
Follow the stream downwards and go till you reach a village.
The sweet bread there is mighty good I might say.
Ask them to show you the way to Clearfields.
Take a mule and set out on the stony path.
Keep the pole star over your right shoulder.
Keep going till you reach Clearfields. There you should find
an Oak tree, a mighty Oak.
Live there under its shade till a sage comes by and he is the one you seek.
He will set you on the best path known to man, if you are ready.
Remember all I said and do as I say. Only then,
you will get what you seek.”
The young man walked off with renewed spirit,
Hopeful with a new agenda.
The hills were packed with natures marvels,
the air was fresh and laden with enchanted aromas,
the sky was clear and soft on the eyes.
The trees bore fruits both succulent and flavoursome,
night fall brought an orchestra of its own.
Shrieking cicadas, cacophony of crickets,
an occasional Bat that flew past,
the ground was warm to rest on,
as frogs composed their mating songs all night long.
It was beautiful, unlike anything the youngster had seen.
The valley was nice and warm at day,
not far off ran the clear stream.
Its shallow shores were full of life,
little crabs and fish of all colours and hues.
The muffled sound of the waters flowing,
an occasional fisherman singing and rowing.
It was all very pleasant to the young man’s senses.
He chose to camp there one night and enjoy,
because, once in paradise he may never return.
The village was filled with easy folk,
they spoke so little and said so much.
He ate wonderful sweet bread there,
he ate till he felt he was overfed.
He got a mule and set out at last,
he bid adieu to the village and travelled fast.
He kept the pole star over his right shoulder,
he wondered at the multitude of constellations that adorned the night sky.
He reached Clearfields and found the Oak.
It was indeed the biggest he’d seen,
with powerful boughs and deep roots.
From its trunk peeped a pair of eyes,
curious at the strange biped that arrived.
The squirrel sniffed and looked around and
then came out when it felt satisfied.
It gathered nuts all day long and
stored them away in its humble abode.
Two days later arrived a lanky figure,
with scraggly beard, somewhat familiar.
The old vagabond bore a strange smile,
“So you made it allright?”
“I don’t understand, are you the sage?”
“Yes, I am the one you seek,
You were naive back then but now you are ready.”
“Fine, which way is Paradise?”
“It is not the destination you seek, it is the journey.
You want Paradise? Go back the way you came.
That is the only path. ”