Trace

by Neil Chopra

The date of this publishing is inspired by the GNU Manifesto, originally published in March 1985.

I.

Their rhythmic dance leaves you spellbound,
But starts with just a single step;
Before neck snaps with head spun round,
Slow its pace till clarity is left.
Their footprints are left in the sand:
Trace them even if shoes don’t fit;
Master their subtle, winding path:
Repeat till memory commits.
And when time comes to step your own,
Choreograph with limber vision:
Spellbind the next with what is shown
Through body’s ultimate precision.

Their symphony can mesmerize,
But starts with just one instrument;
Do not let harmony paralyze
And keep you from gaining the gift.
Their tune replays inside your head,
When fingers fail you always cringe;
Better to start again instead
Of blindly floating in the wind.
And when time comes to play your note,
Compose from melodies you hear:
Not from another’s early stroke,
But in the mind’s awakened ear.

II.

A ladder steep to reach your end
Has more than one path to the light;
The same will let the next ascend,
Though feet cement in cowered fright.
When hand extends to help you climb,
Wave it off and step yourself;
That hand rescinds for those behind,
Though often desperate for more help.
When asked how you held your balance
To reach a rung that seemed so hopeless,
Let loose details of secret talent
So tired minds can regain focus.

If wealth can buy unchallenged steps
So path is cleared and friction skipped,
Or influence trades for wealth bereft
Of toil for its powered grip,
Know that their buds do seldom grow:
These tools live not in abundance;
And by luck are they finally owned
By hands that did not overcome them.
But if resistance bars the way,
And your fight can leave you bloodied,
The example stays fixed in display
For bare hands hungry to study.

III.

If stratagem is freely shared
And tweaked again to be improved,
Advantage needn’t become scared
As better means are put to use.
Two minds join to make a third
That never before existed;
When one mind gates what it has learned
The other needlessly is drifted.
Walking aimless towards an echoed sound,
We are all lost inside this maze;
Trace their lines till voice is found,
Leave your lines so they can trace.

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