Swamp Or Meadow?

The week at work was bad, what with his boss
mistreating him again. “How I do hate that man!”
His mind is so active that it’ll be a night with sleep loss.
“I truly despise him as much as any human can.”

For weeks, nay months, his boss had occupied
his mind, awake or asleep. Daily his hatred grew.
His time devoted to angry brooding, though it he denied,
his mood was constant irritability, as all around him knew.

Now, fretful dozing finished, he finally falls fast asleep.
Suddenly, he finds himself standing in a wondrous meadow.
Flowers of every hue amidst grass emerald-green are steeped
in glorious sunlight, the scene filling him with awe. “I know

this must be Heaven!” he says aloud. “No, not exactly,”
speaks a strange fellow now materializing beside him.
“You must come with me.” Of the people they pass, practically
all are smiling, laughing, with a robustness about each of them.

In perfect peace they travel through the heart of the beautiful
meadow until they come to the edge of a swamp, dark and eerie,
filled with slithering snakes, bubbling black ooze, dank air full
of the pungent aroma of sulfur. “This must be Hell surely!”

“Not exactly,” comes the reply. “Walk this way.” The man
is led onto a pier extending deep into the swamp. Beings having
raisin-wrinkled skin and grotesquely misshapen bodies can
be seen in the vile mire, as far as dreary light allowing.

As the pair arrive at the walkway’s end, the guide, pointing,
commands, “Take your place in the swamp.” The man feels
panicky, “It cannot be. Am I dead?” “This place is for the living -
human inner beings…subconscious minds….souls if you will.”

“Surely there’s been a mistake. What condemned me to this place?”
Still pointing toward the swamp, the spirit answers, “It is here
where those souls filled with hatred, anger, malice, envy must face
each new day.” Alarmed, the man asks, “Their suffering being clear,

must I remain in this horrible state? Is it possible for me also to reside
in the meadow?” Comes the answer, “It is now as it has always been.
Within each member of the human race resides the free will to decide -
swamp or meadow. You select anew each day. Now jump thee in!”

Harry Edward Gilleland      02.17.03