Traveler

Updated: Dec 30, 2021



1.


The bonfire casts a wan face

onto the farmhouse stones.

In shadow, I sow the hidden fields of Provence.


A black bird sings a black tune

in a black tree. A light opera’s aria,

it shatters high C before the tenor’s voice breaks.


Wobbly tables and chairs spin

on the Earth’s axis. True north

wavers, tacked to a crack in the kitchen door.


Gravel crunches underfoot,

but no one passes the fountain.

The path is as mute as the night sky, forlorn yet wide.


Breathe easier. Foxes flee

the woods to scramble for prey.

Noses to the ground, they sniff the earth’s good graces.


2.


My harp hums on its own,

reverberating to a funeral march.

Chopin examines his, sneezes, pronounces it good.


When I lassoed the lake in fog,

waves dotted my rope with white.

The shore turned gray, opened its sluice, sputtered.


On a worn, oaken bookshelf, I found

Camus, camped out near Rousseau.

How strong he looked, lost in his lyrical, tropical breezes.

My father guarded the harbor

at Oran, chewing the Frenchwoman’s

rubber chicken dinners. GI cuisine: only so haute.


I have sieved the Moorish sand,

yellow as turmeric, rocky as salt.

There, the sun shot the stranger. There, he kissed the absurd.


3.

Near Dove Cottage, Wordsworth

walks with The Prelude in hand.

Consciousness bobs on Grasmere’s waters, poetry its font.


The orange fells of Cumbria

climb toward a distant kingdom.

Sublimity rules with pathos; beauty chases away the dew.


Dorothy digests her journal

by the warming hearth. William

juggles their memories like clusters of hot embers.


Fancy grabs Coleridge by the collar,

coddles his dream of Kublai Khan,

whisks away the opium from his pipe. Clarity crashes.


No longer will I freight the past

with meanings it cannot sustain.

The cottage speaks of troubadours, who speak only of love.

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