Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
Grandpa told me, a long time ago
About a man he once saw walking in the snow.
The man’s shoes were golden and brown;
The colors were the sun and the blood of the town.
In bed one night, when the dogs were outside,
And momma was talking to the neighbor (who’d died)
And I was watching the walls for when daddy came home,
Waiting to hear all the places he’d roamed,
The Singing Man came, with shoes golden and brown
With specks of red from when he’d just been through the town.
The Singing Man told me, with no face and no voice,
That if I so desired, he’d give me a choice.
Outside in the woods, past the carcasses and birds,
There was a gateway divided in thirds.
One for the money, and Two for the show,
But Three was the place that no one did go.
One was a favorite, loved by many and all;
Its pathways curved across summer and fall,
And long into spring, and winter and all,
But in One you could not hear your own call.
In One you heard yourself, The Singing Man sang,
In One there was money and happiness and fame;
In One you heard yourself, there’s no doubt about that,
But you heard and didn’t listen, and that’s how souls fall flat.
The Singing Man told me, as I walked through the woods,
That One was the place that he had once stood.
But One was not what he had described;
The gateway was covered in dust and blood and grime.
This was the way the woods perceived it, he said,
And it isn’t to be changed if they see blue as red.
As we walked to Two, the ghosts were all watching,
And I heard momma at the door knocking
For them to come back, because she had made
Them something I knew not of, only that it made me afraid.
The ghosts and The Singing Man awaited me there,
At the gate of Two and gave me a glare.
The Singing Man said that he would not come;
Since he could not Sing, I’d just have to hum.
I hummed and asked Two what it stood for:
Was two like One, did it stand through peace and through war
Was it oblivious, indifferent, to the people that plagued it
With their insolence and ignorance and souls cracked and split,
Or did Two have something that we did not know,
Something like love, or a desert’s first snow
Or was Two just another place bad people would go.
The Singing Man sang, and he smiled with blood
Running from his hands down into the mud,
And the ghosts told me that he said:
The people who go to One and Two are dead.
I told them I know, as I looked through their blankness,
I’d figured that out, but they were not thankless
For they told me there was more, and The Singing Man nodded;
I’d done well to get this far, and so he applauded
But Three still stood down the pathway a bit,
Awaiting our interest and any effort to reach it.
But I did not want to, for it was too far away,
And the road was crowded with fear and ocean spray
As it curved around stalagmites, through caves and tunnels;
Across mountaintops and seas and down into water funnels;
Past countries and castles and lands fallen under rulers;
Around violence and hate and falsely spread rumors;
Through all the world’s troubles, failures and pleasure,
Yes, that was too long a walk, and for too small a treasure.
The Singing Man told me, blank face in a grin,
And with blood and tears dripping off of his chin,
That this was the reason to Three no one would go;
It was too long a walk, and too much to know.
The Singing Man said that daddy knew men
From and to One and all the way up to ten.
One saw my dad on a dark street one night;
He said give me what you’ve got and we won’t have to fight.
My dad told him he would not do so,
But the man from One said he had nowhere else to go.
My dad said that he’d once been in his stance,
And that it could get hard to know there is still a chance.
But the man from One just laughed; he was a trickster, a pest,
So my father answered with a round in his chest.
The man from Two met my dad when he was walking in town;
Two was a politician from Utah with face in a frown.
Two said my dad was a good man to know,
And that his education showed he could give a few good blows
If he took up a House seat for his political party
But for left or right, my dad was neither army,
But still the man said, why don’t you choose,
But my dad answered that he wanted no views.
My dad never met anyone from Three,
For there is no one there who is to be.
Three was too far, and for too small a prize;
No one ever saw it, not with their own eyes;
So Three is forgotten, Three is now nothing;
Though the people from Three are said to be the most trusting.
The Singing Man left, in a trail of dirt and tears and blood,
And he and the ghosts left me there in the woods
As the woods started crying and the trees started howling
And The Singing Man’s song was drowned out by their fouling.
I told my grandson, not too long ago,
About a man I once saw walking in the snow.
The man’s shoes were golden and red;
The colors were the sun and the people now dead.
Credit To – Americium241