Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Journey

I. NO DIRECTIONS
No-one will draw you a map
of what's around the corner, under the hedge,
behind the door, behind your back, behind your eyes
closer to you than your jugular vein.
Travel by subtle ways.
Embark at the stations of the heart.
Your ticket's in hand. The board says:
GOD TRAIN LEAVING NOW
ALL PLATFORMS OPEN SEATING
All aboard.

II. THE FINE PRINT
Don't expect to find
yourself. More likely
you will lose your mind.
Don't hold on too tightly.
Leave the baggage in the baggage car.
Go lightly.
Don't remember where you are.
Let someone else remind
you that you've come so far--
and don't expect to find
yourself.

III. COMPANIONS
Come join us and we'll journey to the East.
We'll break the idols and expel the Beast,
And every member of our fellowship
at journey's end will join in joyous feast!

But soon enough we fell into dispute
When all of us were challenged to refute
some point Thursday-- or was it Chanticleer?--
had made about the message-- or the route--

No matter; I forget, or cannot mention
what caused that endless, miserable dissension
that broke our will and severed friend from friend
and made a mock of all our good intentions.

We set out to make the world a better place.
It seemed a good idea, on its face.
Where'd we get lost? Why are we wandering
in houseless, hopeless, pathless, empty space?

IV. THE SIX OF SWORDS
It's supposed to mean leaving conflicts behind,
finding a solution, getting a good plan,
clearing a troubled mind...
You get help from the ferryman,
though no-one seems to know what kind.

The gypsy didn't like the Six of Swords.
"Bad luck. Conflict. Journey over water."
It's not a proper boat, just a pile of boards.
And the vicious ocean gives the quarter
that a lamb gets at slaughter.

Now I'm clinging to a single plank.
It serves to keep my head above the waves.
So far I've been spared a watery grave,
but fear that all my fellow travellers sank--
I saw none of them saved.

V. THE VERY OLD TORTOISE
Where do you think you're going?
How can you arrive someplace you never left?

Listen: Oppenheimer tried to take me home for his kids.
I said: "Put me right back.
You've meddled with the world enough for one man." He did.

Darwin learned all about change from his finches.
I taught him stillness
(and how to live on earthworms in a pinch).

And Achilles, red and shouting--
I almost said, pouting-- at the finish line:
"How the hell did you get here ahead of me?"
Silly man, I was here all the time.

VI. THE GARDEN MAZE
This garden's overgrown and gone to seed.
The hedges are tall and heavy, hung with thorns.
The sundial casts no shadow.
Faceless statues point to the center of the maze:
there's a dry pool beneath a broken arch of stone.
Which way did I come? Which way to go?
Show me the straight path
I pray, show me the straight path.

Somewhere a robe whispered on the paving.
Nothing was there when I turned at the sound,
but the hedges murmured of mysterious passages
and water flowing underground
down
down
down, through the dust-choked throat of stone
where Alph meets Styx and words are all forgotten
the only memories are graved on whitened bone.

VII. SILENCE
The temple bell rings.
Between reverberations
you can hear silence.

10 comments:

writerwoman said...

I like the section titled The Garden Maze. Absoluetly gorgeous.

nikki the red said...

absolutely beautiful! i love your writing style--it's definite, yet musical.

mine is here:
http://www.shebecameabutterfly.net/?p=166

paisley said...

I'm clinging to a single plank.
It serves to keep my head above the waves.

and sometimes that is all that we can ask for........

mks said...

Although it is speaks the opposite of what I hope to do Stanza II really made me wince at the reality of the possibility of it.

Great work

paris parfait said...

Very, very clever! Reading your piece, I feel as though I've been on a journey, perhaps through the Looking Glass.

tumblewords said...

The Garden Maze seems to echo one of me...and the final stanza is totally mystical. Great post, as always!

Hedwyg said...

Mmmmm... I like
GOD TRAIN LEAVING NOW
ALL PLATFORMS OPEN SEATING -
and the final haiku is breathtaking. Well done!

Peace,
Hedwyg

Mary Timme said...

This was truely a journey of monumental undertaking. I think it seems appropiate now, as well.

Ashley Lyn said...

Every piece in this collection is breathtaking. You capture so well the changes and fancies of an individual along The Path. I particularly loved the petulance of the very old tortoise. I am continually impressed by your work. I look forward to reading more.

Dick Jones said...

Excellent. A powerful & thought-provoking meditation.