Tightrope Walker



A poem about choosing challenge over comfort, and action over apathy, and finding the courage to take risks again.

My balancing act, lately
Has become more about acting
And less about balance

The rope once stretched taut
Now hangs slack
Void of tension

Once the means
Of movement, of confident exploration
Now this road has become a noose

Who am I kidding?
This rope once represented overcoming
Now it serves better as a clothesline

Instead of chalk marks
Signifying the position of foot holds
Miscellaneous clutter now drapes it's length

When did conquering
Yield to a posture of surviving?
Discipline give way to laziness?

To walk the high wire
The rope must be pulled tight
Tense, almost to the point of breaking

But upon this slack cord
The thrill, if any, would be short lived
An invitation to certain tragedy

Am I now so foolish
To think that I could cheat death
Through carelessness or just holding on?

This rope was meant for walking, not hanging
A bridge over the rivers of ignorance
That threaten to overflow the banks of my very existence

This rope spans canyons of indifference
And stretches over poorly constructed dams of prejudice and hate

This rope is knowledge and understanding
Wisdom pulled tight at both ends
A sure footing that supports my weight

To the undisciplined mind
And the heart that scorns application
Wisdom becomes folly, frayed at both ends

To walk the tight rope and succeed
A man must be prepared
Planting his feet with precision

A man who still feels the butterflies in his stomach
Hears the blood pounding in his ears
A man whose will is more than the sum of his fears

A man with calloused feet
That bear the marks of practiced perfection
Excellence in the making

The winds will howl and menace
The rain make slippery every step
Yet the sure-footed man is undeterred

Chance gives way to
Well trained instincts
Muscle memory takes over

I want to be a tightrope walker
A man unafraid to die
Who leaves the safety of the earth below
To trace his path across the sky

Tightrope Walker © 2015 by Kris Peterson. All rights reserved.

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