Stalling in India

Tagged as personal, milosz, poetry

Written on 2012-10-16 18:10:15

I've been in India almost 10 days now and I'm still not really ready to say anything about it. I return October 20th. I am enjoying the trip immensely however. I've spent time trying to experience India, shopping and being a sightseeing tourist, reconnecting with old friends, and resolving a longstanding personal question. At some point there will be pictures but for now, since I'm having trouble finding my own words, here are some from my favorite writer:

"They are made of amorous dough. As soon as they turn twelve, love has begun to take them somewhere. They see its glowing torch from afar and follow it through the half-light of childhood..." - Carlo Gozzi, Memorie inutile

Elegy for Y.Z.

A year after your death, Y.Z.,
I flew from Houston to San Francisco
And remembered our meeting on Third Avenue
When we took such a liking to each other.
You told me then that as a child you had never seen a forest,
Only a brick wall outside a window,
And I felt sorry for you because
So much disinheritance is our portion.
If you were the king's daughter, you didn't know it.
No fatherland with a castle at the meeting of two rivers,
No procession in June in the blue smoke of incense.
You were humble and did not ask questoins.
You shrugged: who after all am I
To walk in splendor wearing a myrtle wreath?
Fleshly, woundable, pitiable, ironic,
You went with men casually, out of unconcern,
And smoked as if you were courting cancer.
I knew your dream: to have a home
With curtains and a flower to be watered in the morning.
That dream was to come true, to no avail.
And our past moment: the mating of birds
Without intent, reflection, nearly airborne
Over the splendor of autumn dogwoods and maples;
Even in our memory it left hardly a trace.
I am grateful, for I learned something from you,
Thought I haven't been able to capture it in words:
On this earth, where there is no palm and no scepter,
Under a sky that rolls up like a tent,
Some compassion for us people, some goodness
And, simply, tenderness, dear Y.Z.
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