Change Your Dream

“What is the dream
inside your head?”
the young girl said.
“Where does it take you?
Does it serve you well?”
The man was surprised.
Intently engaged in climbing upward
for so many years,
he never questioned his mind.
He just did what it told him,
without asking why.
Now he saw for the first time
with open eyes
that his high-flying world
was full of emptiness
and bereft of real meaning.
His heart had been as cold as ice
that locks everything in,
or raging like a fire
to destroy whatever stood in his way.

Gently picking up the little girl
and holding her at arm’s length
to look into her eyes, he said,
“Tell me, what can I do?
How can I change?”
“Change your dream,” she said,
gazing into his soul.
“Make a dream that serves others
as well as yourself.
Stop sacrificing everything
for money and hard power.
Listen to your love
instead of your fear,
and watch a verdant garden grow
in what used to be a barren heart.
Become human,
and fulfill the promise you made.
You don’t remember it now
but you will,
as you look into the eyes
that look at you.”
And she was gone.

But he felt her memory
in the eyes of every child,
every woman,
every man
and every living creature
to whom he showed his kindness.
For that was the promise:
to be humankind.

© Alexandra Innes, 2008