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Always there were times when she seemed to herself the child

who set out to cross a field,

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but strayed to taste wild strawberries,

chase a squirrel, race a friend,

then found herself

like the monk

who stepped into a wood

for a few moments

to listen to the singing of a bird,

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and found on his return,

that a half century had passed,

and of all his fellow monks,

only one remained.

No telling where - or if -

she had lost the way.

Perhaps some are meant to lose the way

by taking a turn that is unmasked later

as a path not so much lost as it is found

like young Dick Whittington

on his way home

from the meanest kind

of scullery job in London,

hearing the Bow Bells

that seemed to chime his name,

telling him to turn again

and become thrice Mayor of London,

which legend said he did -

and was.

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