Whose Footprints Do I Follow?

 

For Big Tent Poetry prompt:  feet
http://bigtentpoetry.org

Whose Footprints Do I Follow?

The father who took me into nature,
taught me to be aware, with side-glance,
of what might be dancing in shadows?

Mother who painted a canvas of footprints
in snow, so real, viewer might feel trickle
of melt as it slid over tops of footwear?

Nuns in black and white habits who warned
against all physical contact, yet taught me
to write way coherently on path to own center?

Others who said there was nothing in head
worth saying, preferred me silent, only nodding
yes, to what they thought was best for me?

Friends, through the years, who offerred a hand,
then let go to follow footprints they felt
it was necessary to follow?

All of these and so many more, but most of all
tracks of soul that whispers of prints still to find,
tells me, “This is the way, follow it.”

Elizabeth Crawford  1/7/11

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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21 Responses to Whose Footprints Do I Follow?

  1. Dick says:

    A powerful and resonant piece of autobiography, carried by the well-sustained metaphor of footprints.

    Thank you, Dick. Most of what I write is autobiographical in one way or another. The prompt reminded me of two things, my mother’s painting, and all the times I followed my father into the woods as he sought a trout stream, he was absolutely sure existed there, somewhere. We didn’t always find it, but it sure beat staying home and scrubbing floors, and I learned a great deal from what he taught me.

    Elizabeth

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  2. vivinfrance says:

    This poem is very Elizabethish, and a beautiful read. I loved trickle of melt, and dancing in shadows.

    Viv, and I love the Elizabethish! That definitely goes in the kudo box. I wasn’t sure about this one, and put it off til the last minute, but when I finally settled down I thought of mom’s painting and the poem stayed right there in those footprints. Thanks for all of your words,

    Elizabeth

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  3. Jade says:

    I like how you wrote this poem in question form and the way you concluded the poem. Great choice of words…especially the “mother” stanza. 🙂

    Thank you, Jade. My mother painted two of this image because both I and my older sister liked it so much. Mine hung in a place of honor, and was recently gifted to my daughter, when my mother passed away and we divided up her paintings between us. I now have my favorite of her paintings, and have photographed it and put it up on another site. But the prompt brought the footprints image to mind and I realized that was the poem and how so many influence the choices we make. And some of our worst instructors can bring us some of the most important lessons we have to learn. How all of that gets mingled together and somehow we eventually find our own individual path.

    Elizabeth

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  4. Footprints indeed. Some easy, some hard — some you need to be a real tracker, maybe a little Indian, too. I think that’s you Elizabeth, you are a good tracker, you are! I see your own footprints in the snow! They look as if they were carefully crafted, a piece of art, there is no telling where you will lead! Own your footprints, my fair lady, and I know you do! Father, Mother, Sisters, and friends, we never walk alone. Thank you for walking with me.

    And I thank you for the same. This poem surprised me a bit. I thought I knew where it was going, but then it took a twist and I just had to follow. There are so many influences and I am so glad I have written about many of them. It helps to keep the memories distinct and fresh. But, it is also humbling to think of all of these individuals being sent to cross my path and to help me understand what it is I need to grow and evolve. Amazing isn’t it? And so it continues to be. Thank you, Annell, your words are important to me,

    Elizabeth

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  5. James says:

    Nicely done. There are so many options we can follow and in the last line there’s that hint that we follow a little of all which leads to our own path. I really enjoyed this.

    Thank you, James, for your generous words. We do spout off a lot about our “individuality”, and I am as guilty as the next for doing just that. But, it’s good to remember that that particular uniqueness is a result of the sum total of all of our experiences, both loving and learning ones.

    Elizabeth

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  6. Laurie Kolp says:

    Beautiful! I really enjoyed the last stanza…tracks of soul… nice…

    Laurie, thank you and glad you enjoyed. I like that line as well,

    Elizabeth

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  7. pamela says:

    Elizabeth, you have taken this prompt to a superb level. This a gorgeous poem. I second what Annell said thanks for walking with me.
    Pamela

    And again, thank you Pamela, for doing the same. I am a bit astounded as I look over the past year and see how many friends I have made on this computer. Real people with real talent, skills, and abilities. And each one, an influence, and lessons to be learned. I am grateful.

    Elizabeth

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  8. I agree that the question form is such a great approach to this poem…coupled with the journey through all the different influences in our lives, it becomes thought provoking. I really enjoyed it!

    Jeanne, I could have gone on and on, at my age the list is endless, lol. I am pleased that you enjoyed it and thanks for taking the time to stop and comment,

    Elizabeth

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  9. Christopher says:

    Tracking You

    I follow your sign,
    the bent twigs, the partial prints
    filling with new rain,
    filling with old sand
    while I feel my heart slowly
    drain of memory
    as I forget you
    and how you touched me like sky
    touches all the earth.

    Thank you Christopher. There is beauty in your words, but they also confuse me. I think you are referring to the fragility of all life and how quickly it passes. We barely touch the earth and we are gone. I am 64 and still retain vivid memories, mainly because I write every day. But, you speak of tracking another in one breath, while aware of forgetting in the next. And I really don’t know if I’m getting it. Sorry, I can also be dense at times.

    Thank you for leaving your poem. I’ve read it several times, and will probably do so again,

    Elizabeth

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  10. Wow! Such beauty I find here this morning. Elizabeth, I love your poem, the influences of your parents and most especially your own voice which says “this is the way, follow it.” So wonderful! And then all of the terrific comments, and the BEAUTIFUL poem from Christopher: “and how you touched me like sky touches all the earth” which may be one of the most beautiful lines I have ever read. Wow. What a feast this morning! Thank you all.

    Thank you Sherry for your words and your enthusiasm. I also agree with you about Christopher’s final lines, they are beautiful. I am not completely satisfied with the poem, I have written. But, for the most part, I view these responses as drafts that need some tweaking. Poems very seldom say, “Okay, I’m done,” on the first writing. Mostly they say, “Okay, I’m presentable, but could you give me a bit more warning the next time around?” Some of them chatter for months and even years. But, am glad you enjoyed,

    Elizabeth

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  11. I like the stanza about the nuns, but I got thrown by the syntax in the last line of that stanza – is that done purposefully to show the confusion? Nice idea – the narrative runs nicely.

    Donna, good question. I know that when I hit that point, I stumbled a bit, trying to figure out how to say what I was actually thinking. I have always been a bit confused by what I saw as the contradiction of what they spoke about especially when it came to the female students in their classrooms, yet gave me the gift of writing with which to explore my own person, the world around me, and everything and everyone in it, while admonishing me not to touch it. So yes, the confusion is genuine, but not actually purposefully on a conscious level. Hope that helps a bit. Thanks for stopping and for the question,

    Elizabeth

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  12. Mary says:

    I like the different footprints you considered, Elizabeth. So many people infuence us, do they not? But your conclusion is so right on….most of all, the tracks of soul. To me this means the !influences that come within. Well expressed AND well concluded!

    Thanks Mary, and yes there are so many influences, but I also believe that is one of the main purposes of the soul: to sort out all those voices, give them meanings, then help me to see which ones to follow and to learn from. Glad I am still learning,

    Elizabeth

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  13. nan says:

    I like what you did with the prompt — musing on who and what our feet have followed, and recognizing the journey they will find on their own . . . extensions of our sole / soul!

    I like that idea: extesions of our sole/soul. I didn’t even consider that aspect until I taught, and realized that some of my students were passing on my words to others via their own writing. My spiritual children were creating spiritual grandchildren and I could see it. Have always been aware of those who influenced me, took so much longer to acknowledge that I have influenced others. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Nan,

    Elizabeth

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  14. Poembook says:

    Lovely tribute ….I admire the way you tried to compare the footprints with relations.Nice read!

    Challenge yourself to write…New Opening

    Thank you Poembook, interesting ID. Well, the prompt took me first to following my Dad through the woods, carrying fishing rods and tackle, then to my Mom’s painting, and then moved out from there. I seldom start out knowing where it will end, and I actually like that experience,

    Elizabeth

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  15. In the beginning we do follow other’s footprints and somewhere down the line, we find our own two feet!

    Love your poem.

    I write notes here…

    Thanks Gautami, and I can only add that for many of us, the second level is the hardest and takes far longer than the first.

    Elizabeth

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  16. twitches says:

    Lovely! I like the progression of time throughout the piece.

    Twitches, haven’t seen you for a while. And the chronology was really a happy accident, lol. Good to know you are here and look forward to more of the same,

    Elizabeth

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  17. Tumblewords says:

    Touching imagery! Love the walking in these shoes…

    Do you ever get the feeling that although it is bright, shining, and brand new to moi, the world seems to be looking back and whispering, “bout time you caught on.” In my head I know there have been thousands of influences that have shaped and formed the person I am becoming, but trying to put that into a brief thought or poem, looked awfully daunting. Then the words started whispering and I just tried to keep up. Seems to be a recurring theme, lol. Thanks for your comments,

    Elizabeth

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  18. Brenda Clews says:

    So many guides on our way, as we guide others, and yet that inner sense, that whispers, this way, this way…. yes! A sweet poem, a walk-about, our lives.

    Thank you Brenda, and I like that idea that each of us is a walk-about, in our own fasion. Glad you stopped and commented,

    Elizabeth

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  19. I think you made the right choice. 🙂

    Thank you Joseph, I would have to agree, lol.

    Elizabeth

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  20. Mad Kane says:

    Beautiful and powerful!

    Mad Kane, thank you for stopping and leaving your generous words,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  21. Mad Kane says:

    Very powerful poem. Thanks!

    And a definite thanks to you Mad Kane. I do so enjoy your limericks,

    Elizabeth

    Like

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