Sunday, 12 January 2014

Poem of the month: The Journey

The Journey

Anghiari is medieval, a sleeve sloping down 
A steep hill, suddenly sweeping out 
To the edge of a cliff, and dwindling. 
But far up the mountain, behind the town, 
We too were swept out, out by the wind, 
Alone with the Tuscan grass. 

Wind had been blowing across the hills 
For days, and everything now was graying gold 
With dust, everything we saw, even 
Some small children scampering along a road, 
Twittering Italian to a small caged bird. 

We sat beside them to rest in some brushwood, 
And I leaned down to rinse the dust from my face. 

I found the spider web there, whose hinges 
Reeled heavily and crazily with the dust, 
Whole mounds and cemeteries of it, sagging 
And scattering shadows among shells and wings. 
And then she stepped into the center of air 
Slender and fastidious, the golden hair 
Of daylight along her shoulders, she poised there, 
While ruins crumbled on every side of her. 
Free of the dust, as though a moment before 
She had stepped inside the earth, to bathe herself. 

I gazed, close to her, till at last she stepped 
Away in her own good time. 

Many men 
Have searched all over Tuscany and never found 
What I found there, the heart of the light 
Itself shelled and leaved, balancing 
On filaments themselves falling. The secret 
Of this journey is to let the wind 
Blow its dust all over your body, 
To let it go on blowing, to step lightly, lightly 
All the way through your ruins, and not to lose 
Any sleep over the dead, who surely 
Will bury their own, don't worry.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

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