I came to crossroads in the woods
And stopped to think my choices out,
And each road lay in sun and shade
Like lazy dogs and rainbow trout;
I looked and hummed and scratched and stood
But could not tell which way was best;
The crossroads made a charming glade,
So I sat down to think and rest.
To give up, as I thought, for good
One road to choose the other one
Was what I meant to contemplate,
But stopped before I had begun.
A bird streaked paint across the woods;
A gleaming beetle mapped a leaf;
A spider strung a harp and played
A song that insects might believe;
Then something zig-zagged through the woods
And came and hovered, eye to eye,
And landed, and aligned its blades:
A freshly painted dragonfly,
So close to me that I could look
At all the etching on its wings,
Its hand-carved back with stars inlaid—
Who needs a muse who has this thing?
It sprang, as light as if it took
More work to tether to a twig;
I jumped up, too, with lesser grace,
And tried to chase each zag and zig—
To get yet closer if I could—
By turns it vanished, then it flashed—
By turns I had to stop and wait,
Then hurry after as it passed—
And then it zoomed up, gone for good,
And left me like a dreamer there.
Behind me was the little glade;
Ahead a road curved on somewhere.
I figured out just where I stood:
I’d come far up the right-hand way,
So I went on through sun and shade;
I said, “This road will be okay.”