We Who Would Traverse

We who would traverse the stars
decline to taste a single blade of grass,
to bend and drink clear water from a glacial stream,
to pick the wild black berry
or heed the hawk’s high, solitary call.

Old Frost knew us lost:
Provide, provide hums the mantra of the hive.

For every obstacle to wants,
for every loss to gain,
an other whispers in our ear:
I have it here, mate;
just step around the corner.

Old Wordsworth cut it plain:
better outworn creed than vampire greed.

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I Will Not Go

I will not go to Istanbul
nor stand agape at Troy now gone to earth,
not shop a ruined Athens,
acquire no pilgrimage to Rome
but rather seek Ravenna,
final hope of fading Pax, a space
between the pleasure and the pain.

To smell the Adriatic, shuffle
through the labyrinth of medieval lanes. To halt
beneath the icons ancient
in their pity, wise within their painted sorrow.
To dance, in courtyards
hallowed by the feet of centuries,
between the pleasure and the pain.

I will not go to London, Lisbon or Berlin,
nor drink pastis in cafe by the Seine,
but seek the quiet henges of the world
whose stones we lifted in our youth and knew
ourselves to be both life and death.
To drink raw whiskey there and naked dance
between the pleasure and the pain.