They say that sometimes at night
when your breath billows softly white
and the snow crunches loud in the silence,
when the pale moon hangs overhead, large and bright,
that on your dark trail you can meet the one
who will, with all the lies of the world
and all the fears in your heart,
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.