Ladder of Swords


What makes up a ladder of swords?
The pain of experience and the blood of mistakes.
What sharpens each blade on a ladder of swords?
The honing of hiding and the whetstone of fear.
What makes you climb up a ladder of swords?
The retreat from prejudice and the push of hate.
What makes you stand atop a ladder of swords?
The pride of love and the power to endure.

For as you climb up the ladder of swords
And the blades bite into your feet,
Sometimes you slip and heart's blood hits the ground,
Yet you keep climbing while gritting your teeth.
For you can't climb down once you step on the rungs
And there's no way to go but on.
You can't really stop and you can't really breathe
'Til the fears of the past are gone.
But they never quite leave you, they never quite quit,
So you look upward toward your goal.
Yet your past keeps calling and fear clings to your legs
As they try to tug back your soul.
So step onto the rungs and climb the blades
And ignore what it is all for.
You won't like the answer, it's life after all,
In this climb up the ladder of swords.

Originally published in Chalk and Cheese 11, Whatever You Do, Don't Press! (Agent with Style), 1992

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