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A Guide for the Perplexed

May 2, 2018


This poem was first published in Issue 14 (2007) of Ancient Paths literary magazine and is now part of the archives.





A Guide for the Perplexed

by Fredrick Zydek


When you can't trust logic or the art of memory,
it's time to step past meditation and move into
the condition of faith.  You must make choices
even if fear oozes from every pore and the path


winds uphill all the way.  The problem of pain

must be ignored and the circles of sorrow, which
seem to emanate from the bones, must be banked
with bags of risk and sacks of good intentions.


Even if your tears are numerous as poems you must

wipe them dry and carry on without them. You 
must forget what the scholars dream in their far fields
and trust the strange assurances of your own truth.


There will be times when this will be like pulling your
own teeth or removing an arrow cupid has shot into
your heart. Take courage. Think of the soldier
waiting in his strange beauty for the battle to begin,


bits of vocabulary that engender grit, and that even

the fishes have their small hopes. Then, disregarding
the sweat pouring from your doubts, take one step
in any direction you want and keep going.

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