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Here is another prose poem. This was my first, in fact. I wasn't even going
to write a prose poem, but just sat down to write something entertaining for
my friends in cyberspace and this came out. Some people are left with the
feeling that it's not about shoes at all. I'm not telling.
New Shoes... the very phrase strikes fear into the hearts of otherwise brave
men. A comfortable, old, well-warn pair of shoes is a joy. DaVinci praised
the human foot as a marvel of engineering, and a good pair of shoes enhances
the effects of this good design, providing support to distribute the load
better, cushioning to absorb the mighty shock of walking, and a protective
covering against the perils of the earth we walk on. When one wears good
shoes, all is good-- our soles are at peace and all is good with the world.
But it is a sad, sad fact of life that a good shoe reaches perfection (sort
of a leather nirvana) just a short time before falling apart.
So, one gets New Shoes. This is a double blow. Not only are we suffering
from the passing of a dear and faithful friend that shod our feet in
exquisite comfort, responding to our every need, every flex and bend, every
step; Not only do we suddenly miss this great comfort that we have grown
accustomed to; But we are faced with terror of the New Shoes.
The great old ones gave trusting comfort. The young unbroken shoes bind and
bite. They make a mockery of the ideals that our departed old shoes upheld
so well. They don't support, they pinch. They don't even out the load, they
scrape and chafe. They don't bend and spring in rhythm with our walk, but
instead have ideas of their own, and insist on making us walk their way.
They do nothing but inspire fear and loathing at their thought, hatred and
scorn at their sight, pain and misery at their touch. They are with us all
day long, a constant reminder of their presence bothering us in the middle of
But, time is a great cycle. Sooner or later, new shoes stop their constant
bickering with our feet. They learn to accept, and take to our ways.
Eventually, they enter their long mid-life, treating our feet with respect
and living up to their goals. Our scorn over them fades, and we accept the
shoes into our closets as a respected part of our wardrobe. There even comes
a day when mere adequacy turns to genuine appeal. The shoes discover the
aspirations to which good old shoes can reach. When they eventually pass, as
shoes always do, we remember the good times, but does anyone ever think back,
way back, to the trials and tribulations of when the shoes were new? Could this grand old
shoe which shod my foot with loving tenderness be the same object that once
performed the role with such hostility? Perhaps thinking back and
remembering that old shoes were young once too will make us more tolerant of
New Shoes. They are a fact of life, and we must do our best to live with them.
Page content copyright 1998 by John M. Dlugosz.