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The Sheep Trail

     by Gene Rooney

Centuries ago in a woods so deep,

Through the cool grass there wandered a sheep,

Who started a trail as he moved along,

A winding trail in the brush long gone.

By now two hundred years are through,

And the sheep has died, as all sheep do:

But he left behind this trail he trod,

As he mashed the grass on the forest sod.

And after him there came his flock,

And after them, some other stock,

Until it seemed to be a parade;

Thus, through those woods a path was made.

Twas a crooked path that wound about,

And dodged and curved both in and out,

And up and down over vale and steep,

Went the bending trail of that long gone sheep.

Then came some men on that twisting track,

That wandered here then took them back,

Till they uttered words of holy wrath,

To curse the curves of that twisting path.

And still they struggled till they did weep,

Along the meanderings of that sheep,

Who on this twisting trail they stalked,

Because he wandered as he walked.

In time the trail became a track,

That twisted around and circled back;

The track in time became a road,

Where many a traveler lugged his load.

And staggering on in the scorching sun,

They walked three miles for every one;

And as they walked they’d curse or weep,

As they followed the steps of that crooked sheep.

In time, the road became a street,

And the forest a town where traders meet,

To sell their goods as their carts did creep,

Along the footsteps of that sheep.

And then the street became the square,

Of a growing city’s thoroughfare;

And then no lesser fame than this…

The major street of a metropolis.

Each day the city’s thousands trod,

Over that ancient forest sod,

And traveled at a furious pace,

The twisting path that sheep did trace.

And though he’s now long gone and dead,

Each day a million or more are led,

By one old sheep winding in and out,

Directing a country’s traffic about.

They follow still his wandering way,

Wasting ten thousand years a day;

Oh, what blind reverence is lent,

To long established precedent.

We seem compelled to wander blind,

Along the sheep-trails of the mind,

To win again what others won,

And do again what they have done.

And we without the least contrition,

Bend our knee to worship tradition,

And count it progress to stumble along,

In the hoof-prints of that sheep long gone.

Well, many a thing this tale could teach,

But you do not want to hear me preach;

Instead I offer a challenge to meet,

To change that path in your mind cut deep.

To open your eyes, to reach the sun,

To do what others have not done,

To transcend time, to make the leap,

To transform your mind, and bury that sheep.

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