To Jeffrey. on Jeffrey not wanting to wear his hard, blue shoes. Funny is how they make me look, Not as a player or hero, but a worm in a book. I don't want these hard blue shoes; They aren't me, they give me the blues. Not those -- I'm going to wear my sneaks; They let me run as the lightning streaks. Off I go, further and further, faster and faster, Around the corner, into the world vaster and vaster: Across the tracks and across the highway, Through the clouds and along the skyway, I run and run, free and far, No one to teach, no one to bar. I zoom down into the greenest, thickest trees, Alone, among the blustering, growing breeze; The birds chirp, leaves rustle, and branches snap Strange noises and at my feet a yawning gap! Darker and darker, stronger and stronger, The wind and the rain come longer and longer -- Puddles everywhere, no where dry to step With feet soaked, all gone is my pep. Shivering and cold, which way is home? My sneaks were only good to roam. I felt a tapping and you know what a treat! There were my hard blue shoes at my feet! They were pointing home, crying, "wear me!" Sneaks in hand, I put them on, saying, "bear me!" And off, up, up, and away I ran Mounting upon the wind, far above the land. My hard blue shoes brought me back And how I knew what I had lacked: Those hard blue shoes that were not me Offered me more than ere I could see!
©1990, 1999, John A. Mills
Published in To Taste Life; Poetry Today; ed. Rebecca Mee; p. 74