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Stay on the Path, Mimi
Nancy Scott


On this brilliant October afternoon,
four-year-old Leah and I
take up our branch walking sticks again
and start our trek around the small lake,
the man-made fountain rippling water in circles,
forcing squawking wild ducks to the reeds,
and the ground is covered with bright leaves,
which Leah stoops to examine,
then hands me a perfect red maple one,
and soon I’m carrying a pile of leaves,
three feathers, and my pocket jiggles
with small stones, but toadstools Leah pokes
with her stick, Don’t touch, she says, they’re poison,
and as we turn the next bend deep in the woods,
something crackles the underbrush, and Leah says,
There are snakes, Mimi, so stay on the path
and she tugs on my hand, but a hundred feet ahead,
says, I’m tired, and I’m thinking how can I carry
this forty-pound child, if she can’t make it?
so I ask, Can you still walk? and Leah says,
Yes, I just stay on the path, and I think how I
never followed the route laid out for me, rather
took shortcuts, diversions, for better or worse,
but as my granddaughter scampers ahead,
full of herself, the day, and the woods,
I don’t want to be anywhere else
except on the path that has brought us both here.


From Detours & Diversions (Main Street Rag, 2011).
This poem first appeared in U.S.1 Worksheets (2010).
Used here with the author’s permission.

Nancy Scott began writing poetry in the mid-’90s, chronicling decades of social activism, but has now turned her attention to writing ekphrastic poems about works of art while simultaneously pursuing a career as an artist. A great fan of children, Nancy raised one biological son and three adopted bi-racial children and was foster mom to more than twenty others. Years ago, when she had the stamina, she ran a daycare center. Now she often writes about her grandchildren. Nancy's latest chapbook, Detours & Diversions, was published by Main Street Rag in February, 2011. More at


Post New Comment:
This poem reminds me of fun times with my grandma. I love all the poems she writes about me, but this one is my favorite. Keep writing Mimi! Love Leah
Posted 10/20/2011 07:36 PM
Gail Goepfert:
Marvelous how we wind along with you on this path.
Posted 10/20/2011 09:11 AM
An expanded metaphor is a wonderful thing, and you have it turning in upon itself. Bravo.
Posted 10/20/2011 09:05 AM
So sweet! Out of the mouths of babes!
Posted 10/20/2011 08:38 AM
Lovely poem, Nancy!
Posted 10/20/2011 06:40 AM

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