When you walk alone

They say that sometimes at night
when your breath billows softly white
and the snow crunches loudly in the quick—
aye, then;
when the cold moon hangs pale overhead,
lusting and judging, close and full of dread—
aye, there;
that is where you can meet the one who
with all the lies of the world
and all the fears in your heart
will tempt you and deceive you and break you.

I do not believe this.
I meet that one everywhere.

The Devil at the Crossroads trope is a persistent and imaginative theme in western literature and this poem came out of some pencil doodlings I was doing one day. But even as the poem developed, I knew its end truth: the demon is always me, my ego—and, in society—us, ours.

Thank you for reading When you walk alone. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph was taken in New Hampshire one cold winter night. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.



Filed under Poetry

6 responses to “When you walk alone

  1. Great imagery. I can hear the snow as I read it.

  2. BookOfBokeh

    This comment is from my sister, who was having difficulty getting it to post. Isn’t she wonderful? Every brother needs such a big sister!!

    When I first read your poem I immediately thought of the quote – from the Bible? -‘ Walk humbly with God “

    When it comes to fighting with your ego you are ahead with your knock-out lifestyle. You have a godly heart that is outward (do justice), inward (love mercy), and upward (walk humbly). These traits have always been your guiding principles – your True North.

    So don’t worry little brother, don’t give that demon ego the time of day…. You live a life that’s got that little demon on the run!!

  3. philwilke

    hope you two are well and getting out … 

    • Phil,

      We are! Thank you! As I am sure the new house and wedded bliss are for you two! Hopefully, this upcoming summer season will not be as dry and dangerous as it has been in years past for you…