A Poem by J.V. Stanley

Had a rough day and was thinking about perception and the importance of being mindful of your surroundings-literally and figuratively.



I see the time passing

slowly, waiting.

Footsteps falling.

Breaking sounds underfoot from behind;

for sticks and stones may break,

but only underfoot and not because they’re cast

For who am I to cast?  For I am no different than others…

I break just as easy…fragile as delicate as….


One can tiptoe, footsteps light when dirt is powder


I am perpetual winter warmed by the sun-

But no one will see.

For at first glance I’m seen as a trail in summertime

neat in a row, the trees along my path

shouldering the burden of leaves and branches as they stretch

reaching up as though in praise of sunshine

in lieu of the trickle of the cool water that sustains them.


Footprints, easy to hide, easy to cover, and easy to leave behind.


Everything green, alive, the sun warm playing songs upon the skin.

You can hear the rustle, the subtle sounds of grieving

the whispers as time changes all.

Stirring up windows and billowing curtains.

The trees relinquish their burden-

falling are those that appear light that amass so heavy over time.

They dance in their own way, these old and mighty,

waltzing with that invisible friend who appears when all must be shed,

so the wind, with delicate fingers assist to undress.


And though the sun shines light, its perception remains false

for nothing can remain truly warm without some cover.


Crystalline and delicate, frozen glass marking limbs,

Chime as the dear wind passes

…as if warning that its embrace is no longer welcome.

The cold is clean, refreshes the mind, the spirit-

every surface glitters, sheen.

You try to touch it-it melts.

You try to embrace it-it changes

Transforms until its apart of you, covering what you had exposed to it-

Until new friends sun and wind come to slowly bring it into the fold.

Then it is no longer yours, but theirs. 

Nothing is ever had…it is borrowed. 


If one understands fragility

then one will know that the path has drifted somewhat.

One cannot tiptoe without those frozen twigs snapping underfoot-

accidental breaks that one does not search to avoid.

Usually eager to get to the destination,

stomping through, cutting trails and leaving behind

footprints as they wade through drifts.

Their heads hit a branch,

shattering the delicate song of the trees, their soft chime muffled.

Rough and unkempt these steps,

Hollow and unfurled.



Bare feet numbed by time spent waiting,

take a tentative first step remembering where all had fallen

…imagine it within the mind.

So easily this path can be forgotten-

the ugliness of it, 

how hastily it was created

The snow a puff and then it is gone. 


Mindful of steps, slowly I broach the ground with toe, arch, and heel

Treading carefully so as not to disturb what lay beneath.

Soft padding of moss and leaves,

brittle sticks and blades of grass,

remembering where each lay in quiet.


Footprint encased within its slot, 

enough to where it will remain-

for warmth of skin creates a mold

and whatever tracks it makes will remain in constant.

Though the wind may cover and the sun may distort,

the outline remains.

Tread carefully through what is delicate

for how you tread is how you will remain.

Footprints always have their way of leaving their mark.



© 2012 J.V. Stanley

Author's Note

J.V. Stanley
If you think this is a good poem then at least something positive came out of today. :D

My Review

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This gives much to ponder in the lines yet the way you put forth the lines makes a journey of a read here...with this one --- JV...the ending lines sum much of the whole process:

Tread carefully through what is delicate
for how you tread is how you will remain.
Footprints always have their way of leaving their mark.

each footprint is evidence in the walk through life...and you put a perspective there with --- what I quoted of your verse...I do like the transition this took also as I read the work...the change of pace from stanza to stanza...footsteps --- then footprints --- the change like the picture paints a clear thought in the mine...and then back again with --- footprints...the main theme of this work...

Posted 4 Years Ago

People always leave an indelible mark on us as we do on them, intended or not so no matter how delicately we walk among them the evidence often remains even if covered. I know this as my past has made me feel like less of a man, less of person, less soulful, less kind, less giving, less willing to trust and less willing to love another let alone myself.

Sure, I'm taking steps to remedy these things but the marks remain - no amount of washing or work will take them completely away; fossilized memories that will forever be even a tiny part of my life till the day I pass.

I truly enjoy your imagery as I've said in many reviews now.

Posted 4 Years Ago

footprints we leave in our journeys make their mark.
Excellent write.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Awesome work with words! Liked this one!

Posted 6 Years Ago

Love the write. 'Footprints always have their way of leaving their mark', true indeed. A brilliant write :))

Posted 6 Years Ago

Only 3 reviews?? Are you kidding me?? This is simply breath-taking. You obviously poured your heart and soul into this piece. It was thoughtful, well-constructed, and by way of your author's note, (hopefully) cathartic. You give the reader so much to think about, so much to consider.

Can't say enough about this piece. Truly made my day.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Jules, you did very, very well.

Posted 6 Years Ago

This isn't merely a good poem, it's BRILLIANT and one of the finest examples of free verse i've read and in any published anthology. Every line is beautiful, the pictures you create with your words truly touch the heart and mind. If i type much more it'll 'sound' insincere; there are handfulls of quotes i'd like to highlight. All i know is that at the end i gasped, inhaled. then closed my eyes, wanting to feel what you feel. How true the following:

'Tread carefully through what is delicate
for how you tread is how you will remain.
Footprints always have their way of leaving their mark.'

Posted 6 Years Ago

I like the story and the logic of the poem. All good and and things we do will follow us. A wise person walk softly and try to be kind. Complete poem was amazing. I did like the ending to the outstanding poem. Took me 30 plus years to say nothing unless it is positive.

Posted 6 Years Ago

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9 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on March 13, 2012
Last Updated on March 13, 2012
Tags: footprints, time, nature, reality, perception, memory, life, snow, ice, wow I had a bad day.


J.V. Stanley
J.V. Stanley

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan, MI

J. V. Stanley is the author of two books (both available on amazon). She is also the CEO and Founder of Writerz Block editing service where she has worked with authors such as Kandice C. Mason, John .. more..