Labyrinth – A Poem

Winding PathLabyrinth

William F. Maxwell

The labyrinth is for walking.
Not for trying to understand,
not for anticipating
the quirky turns or sudden
reversals. I’m simply
to follow a path, not
wondering where I’ve been
or where I’m going.

The labyrinth is
for this moment, asking only
that I move quietly along
the ordained path.
Mind and spirit free
to leave habit and comfort
and predictability behind,
I may find surprising openings
to unexpected rooms.
Or not.

 Labyrinth CenterArriving at the center,
I stand immobile and quiet,
waiting to discover
where I am.

Sometimes there seems
to be a new insight,
startling understanding.
Sometimes it is only
a voice saying softly
but inarguably,
Keep walking.


(c) 2014 William F. Maxwell

I’m grateful to my friend Bill Maxwell for permission to publish this poem, on one of my favorite themes. — Margaret

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. Marybeth Bland says:

    Yes. Lovely open reminding me to be still m stay in the present and keep wa,king

  2. blink of an eye —
    shadow of a butterfly
    on the path

  3. Marybeth Bland says:

    It seems we all have been preoccupied with our lives. Friday and I have been hot, tired and quiet,

    hot summer sun
    temperatures rising
    I miss rain

    • Thanks, MaryBeth. I’m not all the way to missing rain quite yet … but I know that feeling. In October when the rains come back, I always feel a sense of deep relief and peace.

  4. carolyn says:

    the season of letting go
    Yard sales galore

  5. Marybeth Bland says:

    Friday and I stayed at a hotel downtown to escape the heat. We left the day the annual lake fair started.

    and scream
    the Ferris wheel turns

  6. Marybeth Bland says:

    A word got left off my haiku

    children laugh
    and scream
    the Ferris wheel turns

    • Marybeth, I especially like the juxtaposition between the extremes of changing emotion expressed by the children and the turns of the Ferris wheel. Evokes the great wheel of life through this simple, common summer moment.

  7. carolyn says:

    circling back
    to the beginning

  8. Carolyn says:

    I like looking at the bottom picture of a labyrinth.I see so many different shapes and images . The picture reminds me of stained glass. I can’t imagine walking on anything so pretty.

    change and motion
    of cones, circles and squares
    calculus made clear

  9. endless
    sunny days

  10. Marybeth Bland says:

    a fly in the air
    my dog leaps
    mouth open

  11. Marybeth Bland says:

    Sharon, her Sixteen year old grandson and I went out to eat Tuesday by the Puget sound.
    Here are our haikus

    cloudy skies
    cool summer heat

  12. August sun
    Relentless in its heat
    I hibernate

    • Sharon, great to hear from you.
      Don’t know what’s happening in your neck of the woods this morning, but we had a bit of a cloudburst, and it’s still cloudy and showery. Now that’s what makes me want to hibernate!

      sleepy morning
      the yellow grass hangs heavy
      with raindrops

  13. cool breezes
    blowing in from the strait
    heat dissipates

    • Marybeth Bland says:

      Carolyn,I hope the cool breezes are on the way nort.

      hot sun
      hits my garden
      cucumbers get fat

  14. Winds are always present where I live. Upset trashcans and blowing newspapers are the order of the day. Tinkling wind chimes break the silence in my home. The purring of my girl and the rustle of the night wind lull me sleep. The wind is so much a part of me that sometimes I wonder where the wind ends and I begin.

    last leaf
    on the branch
    youngest child

    • Carolyn, this haibun is just wonderful. The haiku beautifully complements the prose and the last line packs an emotional punch.

      My only thought relates to “my girl.” Because I know you, I know who that is. For someone who doesn’t know you, it could be a little puzzling. I think it’s fine as is for an inner circle of readers. If you wanted to submit this to a publication for a larger audience, you might think about “cat” instead of “girl.”

      Thanks for posting.

      • Thanks Margaret.
        I changed girl to cat. I also put the word to in front of sleep — I left it out.

  15. Marybeth Bland says:

    It has been dry here for over a month. Everything needs water.. My watering does not seem to do enough. But I am out there every morning doing what I can.

    It rains at night
    my cucumbers are drenched
    I am happy

    • Marybeth, this made me smile.
      We had a drenching rain last night too, and I think every living thing outside is happy.

      the sky has fallen
      potholes in the lane transformed
      into birdbaths

  16. murmuring softly
    in the dark wet night
    growing grass

    • Carolyn, I especially like “dark wet night” in this poem.
      I also like that “murmuring softly could refer to a conversation between humans, or to the growing grass.

  17. Marybeth Bland says:

    I sit in my chair reading a book. It tells me how to live in the moment. Go outside. Look at nature . I pause thinking of my days schedule. I go back to the book but have lost my place

    Friday licks my leg
    he drops his ball
    wags his tail

    he wants to play

  18. an apricot sun
    rises above the dark hills

  19. Poets following this post in the comment stream alone — I just posted a new Lectio+Haiku prompt. Hope you find it inspiring. See it at the top of the list on the home page,