ARE YOU ON THE PATH?
A poem for my Father

STACEY COTTON MANIÈRE

That day, you spoke
to the pilgrim in me
who I did not yet
know myself
'Are you on the Path?'

You did not attempt
to mend my heart or
lecture me
what is right
but bestowed on me
these five words
I’ve called upon
throughout life.

You taught me to focus
on a point in the outer distance -
a form of drishti,
a way to not be swayed
by follies in the periphery.
Instinct, the inner compass
the answer must be felt
mind’s logic is inadequate
to respond on behalf of the
Self.

At times I’ve defiantly trudged
gut groaning for drastic diversion
from a perfect life
I was making.
Eventually rerouting
from ego’s attempt to rebel
against the secret
knowing of all things.

Winds of circumstance
whip my sunburnt flesh,
I walk on regardless
with my own quiet breath
Inhaling, exhaling
beneath the exertion
of uphill climbs and the
flailing limbs of
uncontrollable descents.

I lost patience
mostly with myself
as I’ve tried to force my way
through the foliage of back trails
before accepting
that allowing the way within
and out
to reveal itself
is never really
standing still at all.

By teaching me to inquire
of my own wisdom
I later learnt to hold
my own hand —
for my hand is your hand
is our hand
healer, perpetrator,
mother, daughter,
father, son.

I began to decipher
the synchronicities —
stone cairns stacked
along the trail,
signs the soul sees
when fear no longer leads.

Certain times have called for
pushing against the headwind
towards my own undoing —
knowing I needed to fall,
to break myself to be reborn,
an amateur
traveller
once again.

The importance of rest
has become apparent,
taking in the breathtaking view
front, back
and periphery.
I finally understand
to let go
is to also keep.

Now, when I unlace the
blindfolds on my feet
and touch bare soil -
just like you did
in the back garden
night after night beneath your
northern stars,
I am reminded
I’ve been walking
on holy ground
the entire way.

Whichever way I’ve roamed
the pilgrimage has always
been back to where
I came from.
You come into this world
alone you said
you will leave it
alone.
In truth, I know
all the while as one.

That day, you spoke
of magic
at least it felt that way.
You bestowed on me
one question -
a secret code of
self enquiry
‘Are you on the path?’

By teaching me to inquire
of my own wisdom
I later learnt to hold
my own hand —
for my hand is your hand
is our hand
healer, perpetrator,
mother, daughter,
father, son.

I began to decipher
the synchronicities —
stone cairns stacked
along the trail,
signs the soul sees
when fear no longer leads.

Certain times have called for
pushing against the headwind
towards my own undoing —
knowing I needed to fall,
to break myself to be reborn,
an amateur
traveller
once again.

The importance of rest
has become apparent,
taking in the breathtaking view
front, back
and periphery.
I finally understand
to let go
is to also keep.

Now, when I unlace the
blindfolds on my feet
and touch bare soil -
just like you did
in the back garden
night after night beneath your
northern stars,
I am reminded
I’ve been walking
on holy ground
the entire way.

Whichever way I’ve roamed
the pilgrimage has always
been back to where
I came from.
You come into this world
alone you said
you will leave it
alone.
In truth, I know
all the while as one.

That day, you spoke
of magic
at least it felt that way.
You bestowed on me
one question -
a secret code of
self enquiry
‘Are you on the path?’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stacey Cotter Manière is a Poet and Creative Director based in Sydney. She has worked in the fashion industry across Europe, Asia and Australia for the past 14 years. She enjoys storytelling through various mediums and the cross-pollination that happens as a result. Stacey’s poetry was published in SMEAR poems for girls, an anthology published by Andrew McMeel in 2020. She’s also performed in the Alphabet of Women, a poetry stage production by Miriam Hechtman to be released as a book in 2021 by Ginninderra Press. Stacey is currently working on a solo collection of poetry.

@stace.c.m
Sydney, Australia

Explore Our New Arrivals | Free Shipping
Hello, you are currently visiting Kowtow New Zealand and are shopping in NZD.
Choose your region