Parallel Man

As I was going to the fair,
I met a man with silver hair.
The more I looked how could it be?
He looked an awful lot like me,
‘Cept furrowed brow and walking cane.
Perhaps my thoughts were just insane.
Perhaps it was a twist of fate.
He started to communicate.

He said something I thought perverse:
“I’m from another universe.”
Then something I remember well:
“My universe is Parallel.”
Since we were walking to the fair,
I did not want to stop and stare.
I thought with growing hesitation
A figment of imagination

Was walking to the fair with me—
Just move along and let him be.
I realized that we were stuck
Together by some stroke of luck.
And like a shadow on the trail
I tried to lose to no avail.
If I walked faster, so did he.
I guess he wanted company.

I told the man from Parallel,
“I hope that you are doing well.”
His voice was deep; his words were pointed—
“I am the one who was anointed.”
I listened to the words he said:
“I am the conscience in your head.
Although you think it quite absurd,
You need to listen to each word.

“I have some things to say to you.
I parallel the things you do.
You still are young and I am old.
Trust in the truth that you’ve been told.
Our paths will always intertwine,
Since we are one of the same vine.
The paths you choose will change me too.
Be careful of the things you do.

“Now go and have fun at the fair,”
Said the man with silver hair.
“Enjoy the rides, enjoy the sun.
Enjoy your friends and have some fun.
Remember that we had a talk
And by your side I’ll always walk.”



LTC Roy E. Peterson is a writer, retired U.S. Army Military Intelligence Officer, Foreign Area Officer, and Foreign Commercial Officer who currently resides in Texas.

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20 Responses

  1. Allegra Silberstein

    Great poem…Thanks for beginning my day with delight.

  2. Paul Freeman

    ‘Parallel Man’. What a brilliant name and idea for a film?

    I really enjoyed this poem, especially after the news that we may have a parallel universe that’s contracting rather than expanding, and where time runs backwards.

    Thanks for the intriguing read, Roy.

    • Roy E. Peterson

      What great thoughts and comments, Paul! How fitting are your thoughts!

    • C.B. Anderson

      I have been deep into science fiction, Mike, for the past fifty years or so. I would like to share with you some of the best books I have read in the recent past.

      Vernor Vinge’s A Fire upon the Deep is an absolute classic, and its sequel should not be missed. His separate work, A Deepness in the Sky is something else I would highly recommend. And then there is David Brin’s Uplift Wars saga, which runs on to six books, beginning with Sundiver. If you re really hard core, then David Weber’s Safehold series is not to be missed. Anything by Jack Vance should stimulate your cockles.

      • Mike Bryant

        Thanks for the recommendations C.B. I am more than a few decades behind you. The last sci-fi novel I read was The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I’m still waiting for the movie.

    • Roy E. Peterson

      I greatly appreciate the thoughts and the references! Thank you, Mike!

  3. Margaret Coats

    Thoughtful depiction of conscience, Roy. It explains the individual’s responsibility to form his conscience correctly, because “the paths you choose will change me too.” The line is a memorable warning that conscience can err if not well guided. Because “our paths will always intertwine,” the conscience can seem like an ever-present guardian angel, but you clearly and entertainingly distinguish them. Good work!

    • Roy E. Peterson

      You went directly to the essence of the poem! I always admire your poetic constructs, Margaret, and greatly appreciate your comments!

  4. C.B. Anderson

    Nice work, Roy. Others have already spoken before me, and I can only echo their sentiments

  5. Norma Pain

    I loved your poem Roy. The message comes through loud and clear. Sadly, the people that need to read it may not see it.

  6. Brandon

    This poem is what poetry is about: The light and truth we seek to explain in an entertaining way.

  7. Shaun C. Duncan

    This is a fantastic conceit, Roy and brilliantly executed too. You’ve managed to do great justice to the idea in a very economical fashion and the rhyming couplets in tetrameter give it a nice pace.

    • Roy E. Peterson

      Bless you, Shaun. I recognize the typo “conceit” as “concept.” I have made similar typos myself and could not change it once posted. I really appreciate the comments.


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