First Steps

Here is a poem written on my brief post-Easter break on the North Norfolk coast near Brancaster. It was written on the occasion of my first outdoor walk since I had the cast removed after breaking my leg in January. It wasn’t a very long walk, and it wasn’t pain free but it was a breakthrough of sorts, as this poem records.
As always you can hear it by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button

First Steps

This is the day to leave the dark behind you
Take the adventure, step beyond the hearth,
Shake off at last the shackles that confined you,
And find the courage for the forward path.
You yearned for freedom through the long night watches,
The day has come and you are free to choose,
Now is your time and season.
Companioned still by your familiar crutches,
And leaning on the props you hope to lose,
You step outside and widen your horizon.

After the dimly burning wick of winter
That seemed to dull and darken everything
The April sun shines clear beyond your shelter
And clean as sight itself. The reed-birds sing,
As heaven reaches down to touch the earth
And circle her, revealing everywhere
A lovely, longed-for blue.
Breathe deep and be renewed by every breath,
Kinned to the keen east wind and cleansing air,
As though the blue itself were blowing through you.

You keep the coastal path where edge meets edge,
The sea and salt marsh touching in North Norfolk,
Reed cutters cuttings, patterned in the sedge,
Open and ease the way that you will walk,
Unbroken reeds still wave their feathered fronds
Through which you glimpse the long line of the sea
And hear its healing voice.
Tentative steps begin to break your bonds,
You push on through the pain that sets you free,
Towards the day when broken bones rejoice



Filed under imagination

11 responses to “First Steps

  1. Jean Mattson

    I’m so thankful for you, Malcolm. This poem has many levels and can apply to many life situations that most of us deal with at one time or another!
    On the surface… very glad that you are once again finding joy in your walks!
    Looking forward to San Diego!!!!!!

  2. “push on through the pain that sets you free” Indeed! Alleluliah!

  3. Many thanks for your latest poem. I can share something of your feelings as I have been confined to barracks for three months by a virus that would not go away. And funnily enough I too am going to North Norfolk next week, so I will be striding along the marshes of Stiffkey in between gathering with 6 others to write a history of the village. Congratulations on your first steps to freedom Go well Tony Hodgson

  4. Thank you so much for writing and posting this! As Jean Mattson said above, this “can apply to many life situations,” and for me it is particularly encouraging and hopeful in a current, dark situation. Your poem is a blessing and inspiration. Many, many thanks.

  5. Thank you, Malcolm. Your experience is a mirror for all of us, with our own shackles that bind us. Freedom is worth the pain.

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks. I was trying to write it so that it could be about other people’s experience as well as my own.

  6. Christine Hickey

    Enjoyed your poem very much. It reminded me of how healing it was to get out into nature after a long confinement I experienced. Praying for your continued healing!

  7. Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy your poetry? Cuz I enjoy it very much.

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