I stood upon a circle-isle – hub-centred like a wheel.
Like spokes the bridges crossed the waters round me. Each reveal
A different path departing thence in all directions round.
I stood and gazed a goodly while upon my island-ground.
Some paths I recognised – for I’d already walked that track.
They led to places where I would not willingly go back.
Another road I must then choose: I could not change my lot.
But where did these new pathways tend? To something good? Or not?
I chose at last. But first I took some coals from a small urn,
Applied them to the bridges I’d not cross again – so burn!
No chance I took take with evil paths whereby an enemy
Might think to cross their bridge and then begin pursuit of me.
For bridges can be used for good – or ill. Weigh up the cost –
And bridges you’ll not cross again are better burnt and lost.