Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Choice

A comment made on yesterday's post by my new blogosphere friend Adriana (check out her blog here:  Classical Quest) , regarding a winter scene reminding her of Narnia, got me thinking about a poem I wrote a couple of years ago.   I talked to a professional poetry editor about this poem and she was not enthusiastic.  But I enjoyed writing it, and I still enjoy reading it.  So while this poem may not be publishable elsewhere, it seems to fit in here, and now. 

Contrary to what you might assume, this poem was NOT inspired by Robert Frost.  It was inspired by a photo that the local TV station showed in their "weather wallpaper" segment (in which viewers send in photos they've taken).  This isn't the picture, but it gives the idea.

The Choice

I stood before the path into the woods.
Its Narnian whiteness beckoned to me, yet
being loath to spoil the smooth expanse of snow
and knowing night was falling dark and fast,
I turned and said, “Another day will do.”

A small decision, hardly thought of till
an early thaw comes, and the snowy trails
turn muddy brown – and I, with wistfulness,
recall that hushed midwinter moment when
I stood before the path into the woods.

I see it still: the long inverted V
of that straight road into the forest deep,
the fenceposts frosted thick with powdered snow.
Bewitching promise of an unwalked trail!
Its Narnian whiteness beckons to me yet.

In retrospect my reasons seem so slight:
excuses not to dare.  Had evening come,
my footprints would have easily led me back
(assuming I had wanted to return).
Being loath to spoil the smooth expanse of snow?

That now seems an especially foolish thought.
Surely the fresh and untouched path desired
that some exploring foot, some questing heart,
would break the surface, plunging forth with joy.
Now, knowing night is falling dark and fast,

I vow to take the path.  So what if that
was this year’s final snowfall?  Then I’ll wait
till winter comes again and draws me in
to that charmed world.  I’ll go, brave-souled and glad,
not turn and say, “Another day will do.”

c Jeannie Prinsen 2011
please do not share or reproduce without author permission


  1. Jeannie, you are a kindred spirit.

    The day I took my walk through Narnia I felt a sense of urgency. I knew the world would have a different look and feel the next time I had a chance to go out! Though I often walk the same paths, I've NEVER walked the same path twice!

    There are such magical moments to be savored. If only I can summon the courage/make the time to say YES! Your image of a "smooth expanse of snow" is tantalizing.

    I had a similar experience a few months ago when I was taking an autumn walk with my 3yr old son. We found ourselves under a golden woodland cathedral. The ground was dry. My son asked me if we could lie down on the ground. First I hesitated. ("I didn't bring a blanket. We might get dirty.") Then I consented. What happened next was an eternal moment that I will never forget. Side by side, flat on our backs and completely surrounded by golden light -- my little boy reached for my hand. No words. Just awe. I'm SO glad I didn't say "Another day will do." The next day it rained and then it turned cold and a week later most of the leaves were gone. It was ONE moment in time and I'm grateful we captured it together. :)

    I took a picture from the forest floor.

    Jeannie, please submit your poem until someone sees it for what it is. (It made me cry.)

  2. I just had a thought. I have a bunch more pictures that I took on my walk through Narnia. May I have permission to use your poem as a guest post?

    1. Hi Adriana - thanks for sharing your experience. A sweet moment that never would've happened if you hadn't said Yes. We sure are kindred spirits! My poem is not based on a personal experience per se, just an imaginary exploration of the feelings/thoughts that photo evoked -- but I think it has a lot of relevance to my life in general.

      YES, go ahead & use the poem as a guest post. I have a feeling that (professional poetry editors notwithstanding!!) it has a place in the world somewhere! Blessings,

    2. Oh yea! This will be fun. I will try to have it up in the morning if all goes smoothly with my little brood this evening.

    3. Hi Jeannie! The post is coming along nicely, but I don't want to rush it. I hope to have some free time over the weekend to work on it. I'll let you know the second it's done. :)

      Would you prefer to communicate via email? I couldn't find an email address here.

      Mine is

      Have a lovely weekend!


    4. Hi Adriana,

      Email is great: you can use Enjoy your weekend too.

  3. "excuses not to dare"

    That line is so powerful in its beauty, Jeannie. Loved this poem, and I am glad for the prompting that led you to post it for us.


    1. Thanks Tim, I appreciate your comment! Credit Adriana for mentioning Narnia, C.S. Lewis for creating Narnia, and God for ... well, everything!


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