Three travellers, meeting on the mountain-side,
paused to speak briefly, each to each.
Said the first:
I seek the mountain’s distant height,
the mighty summit’s peak,
beyond the struggle and fray,
the endless lies, the dark deceit,
the never-ending thump of guns,
the bigotry, prejudice and conceit,
O high, so high above
the plain’s violent stagnation
I seek a vision and a dream
and in desperation flee
from oppressive humanity.
The second replied:
This ledge is sufficient for me.
I have long stayed observing here
and I delight to see
the curious scurrying and strife
on the distant plain below,
the march of armies, the boom of guns,
the inevitable ebb and flow,
and when this ceases to delight
then I raise my eyes up to the sky’s
interplay of colour and light
or wrap myself in velvet night.
The third said:
I have walked to the summit
and now return to the plain,
though the armies plunder
and the rapacious growl for gain.
I have heard the orphan’s cry,
the widow’s sorrowing groan,
the homeless sigh,
the wounded moan.
I descend, taking what I can,
gifts ever so slight and small,
touch soft and gentle like a kiss,
words as kind as healing balm
and empathy that is palm to palm.
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