The Traveled Man

Sometimes I wish the railroads all were torn out,
The ships all sunk among the coral strands.
I am so very weary, yea, so worn out,
With tales of those who visit foreign lands.

When asked to dine, to meet these traveled people,
My soup seems brewed from cemetery bones.
The fish grows cold on some cathedral steeple,
I miss two courses while I stare at thrones.

I'm forced to leave my salad quite untasted,
Some musty, moldy temple to explore.
The ices, fruit and coffee all are wasted


The Supplanter A Tale

I

He bends his travel-tarnished feet
   To where she wastes in clay:
From day-dawn until eve he fares
   Along the wintry way;
From day-dawn until eve repairs
   Unto her mound to pray.

II

"Are these the gravestone shapes that meet
   My forward-straining view?
Or forms that cross a window-blind
   In circle, knot, and queue:
Gay forms, that cross and whirl and wind
   To music throbbing through?" -

III

"The Keeper of the Field of Tombs


The Trap

During that time I kept out of circumstances that were too full of mystery
As people with stomach ailments avoid heavy meals,
I preferred to stay at home inquiring into certain questions
Concerning the propagation of spiders,
To which end I would shut myself up in the garden
And not show myself in public until late at night;
Or else, in shirt-sleeves, defiant,
I would hurl angry glances at the moon,
Trying to get rid of those bilious fancies
That cling like polyps to the human soul.


The time has come for us to become madmen in your chain

The time has come for us to become madmen in your chain, to
burst our bonds and become estranged from all;
To yield up our souls, no more to bear the disgrace of such a
soul, to set fire to our house, and run like fire to the tavern.
Until we ferment, we shall not escape from this vat of the
world- how then shall we become intimate with the lip of that
flagon and bowl?
Listen to the words from a madman: do not suppose that we
become true men until we die.
It is necessary that we should become more inverted than the


The Road and the End

I shall foot it
Down the roadway in the dusk,
Where shapes of hunger wander
And the fugitives of pain go by.
I shall foot it
In the silence of the morning,
See the night slur into dawn,
Hear the slow great winds arise
Where tall trees flank the way
And shoulder toward the sky.

The broken boulders by the road
Shall not commemorate my ruin.
Regret shall be the gravel under foot.
I shall watch for
Slim birds swift of wing
That go where wind and ranks of thunder


The Russian Fugitive

I

ENOUGH of rose-bud lips, and eyes
Like harebells bathed in dew,
Of cheek that with carnation vies,
And veins of violet hue;
Earth wants not beauty that may scorn
A likening to frail flowers;
Yea, to the stars, if they were born
For seasons and for hours.

Through Moscow's gates, with gold unbarred,
Stepped One at dead of night,
Whom such high beauty could not guard
From meditated blight;
By stealth she passed, and fled as fast
As doth the hunted fawn,


The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Translated into English in 1859 by Edward FitzGerald

I.
Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

II.
Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

III.
And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before


The Road to Old Man's Town

The fields of youth are filled with flowers,
The wine of youth is strong:
What need have we to count the hours?
The summer days are long.
But soon we find to our dismay
That we are drifting down
The barren slopes that fall away
Towards the foothills grim and grey
That lead to Old Man's Town.

And marching with us on the track
Full many friends we find:
We see them looking sadly back
For those who've dropped behind

But God forfend a fate so dread --
Alone to travel down


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!


The Road

I, too, would ease my old car to a stop
on the side of some country road
and count the stars or admire a sunset
or sit quietly through an afternoon....

I'd open the door and go walking
like James Wright across a meadow,
where I might touch a pony's ear and
break into blossom; or, like Hayden

Carruth, sustained by the sight
of cows grazing in pastures at night,
I'd stand speechless in the great darkness;
I'd even search on some well-traveled road

like Phil Levine in this week's New Yorker,


Pages

Subscribe to RSS - travel