Old Man by the River Bank

On a warm, sunny day long, long ago
I took a walk down a long-forgotten path
and decided to rest on an ancient river bank.
I sat there for awhile with my thoughts dancing
through my mind, like skipping stones
on the surface of otherwise calm waters.
Ripples cascading, spreading
like shock waves through my peaceful state,
keeping me awake while instead I could be enjoying
a satisfying nap.
When out of nowhere he appeared,
I jumped with a start as he raised his hands in peace.
He came towards me in a float instead of a walk,
which I thought rather strange but soon forgot
as he started to speak, his voice so soothing, so serene.
The tone of his voice bestilled my mind,
the ripples ceasing and the thoughts – what thoughts?
As we both took a seat he continued to speak
and I realized, my life would never be the same again.

“Speak with a pure heart” he said, “and your life will follow accordingly.
Our lives follow our hearts and the voice of our thoughts” he continued,
“which is why so many of us live in worlds of conflict and confusion.
But when we speak with pure heart,
we are in perfect unison and balance
to live a life of peace and beauty.”

It’s been a long time
since I’ve heard those words,
but they live inside my heart
where I’ll always remember that warm, sunny day
when I met an old man
on an ancient river bank.


Copyright © 1999 Brenda Barnhart