concerning the journey to the sea (R7)


it is necessary so they say—
those who have made the journey
before us—to find a shop
where real leather may be bought
out of which to devise stout & well-made shoes
for negotiating the hard terrain—
the desert and the rocks
the swamps and the stumps of broken trees

it is important that no mud
that may adhere to the shoes
should ever be allowed
to touch your eyes for it will
endanger your sight;   also
you must procure a musical instrument
on which patiently to learn to make
and invent various harmonies
and often play them
in different ways   never to forget them
more especially when you are tired
and thinking that life has gained
its insidious victory over you

I have often had intimations in dreams
said Socrates    that I should make music

your feet with all their various sensitivities
are formed when the dawning
of consciousness touches the strange
oh so foreign    never ever grasped thing
you choose to call the external world:
all your wonder at the ticking of the clock
the rustling in the trees   the green
in the sky of the rising or the setting sun
the curious moon push and pull of the water
at the place on the beach where Knowledge is
fades into the worldly commonplace
of power    possessions    adoration & fame

the shop-man can sell you fine leather—
you must make your own shoes
for the journey   the mud of materialism
is also your business—to be kept always
at arm’s length
scrap
the old tunes—the ones you have sung
over and over again like a stuck needle
in a phonograph without quite realising the age
of their harmonies       take on
the orchestra and choir of the whole universe—
discords and mellifluence in equal measure—
balance them one within the other—
the Key to the Kingdom Within is yours

(From Looking Closely 2000)

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