The Lost Traveler


NEARBY nowhere blows oddly on me
from ambuscades in the green grass, in the sky
and the lurching bitter clairvoyant whispering sea.
I fared once oN a faraway island
long ago learning prayer and remembrance
roughness of stones and trees, the abracadabra of time
In the there atmosphere of charms and remedies
being reasonable I gave birth to reason and unreason
and taken in the sin of truth consented to exile.
The voyage here was long in a stormy season,
the language has no word for love or brotherhood,
lodgings are scarce, there is little enough to eat —
And in the temples their strange god is pleased
to simmer in a bottle over the bunsen-burner.


THE priest-chymist has a limbeck for a nose
and the priest-psychiatrist a dildo the size of a tree,
the priest-podiatrist is nothing but heels and toes —
When they examined me I confessed to but one evil
that of not being happy here. They wept,
each one seeing his own image in me.
I said — Sirs, take thought for yourselves
that you are only vapors rising from the tarn of my mind
and my mind a word in the mouth of forever or never!
Then they put me forth though not unkindly
provisioned with pabulums and with maps of now and are
and I may travel what transport I will — so I find it.
But of any ships calling this port I descry
one only, and her captain is Charon.


I HAVE written anathema in the sands below the cliff
but the warning goes under the tide, and with every flood
the drowned sailors swim blankly ashore in the drift.
These were travelers out of my own country,
midway sailing they were overtaken by answers
and passed from life to knowledge through surprise.
Alas for their death on the quick knife of romance!
if is useless now to tell in the darkened ear
that the voyage was for nothing — whether to heaven or to France.
They might have lain in the womb or under the willow tree
dallied, since all their divisible hearts were flown to mingle with mine crossing oceans and years
A pilgrim, a stranger, a wanderer in the world’s illusion
listening everywhere for the trumpet that is already wound.