Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Tuesday Platform ~ Questions Of Travel

A few things delight me, cause me to stop and ponder and contemplate what seems.. Elizabeth Bishop published only a hundred poems in her lifetime and yet is considered one of the most significant and distinguished Poets of the 20th century. I recently came across a poem written by her was deeply touched by the emotion in her writing:

Questions Of Travel

There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams
hurry too rapidly down to the sea,
and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops
makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion,
turning to waterfalls under our very eyes.
- For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains,
aren't waterfalls yet,
in a quick age or so, as ages go here,
they probably will be.
But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling,
the mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships,
slime-hung and barnacled.

Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theatres?
What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework,
inexplicable and impenetrable,
at any view,
instantly seen and always, always delightful?
Oh, must we dream our dreams
and have them, too?
And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?

But surely it would have been a pity
not to have seen the trees along this road,
really exaggerated in their beauty,
not to have seen them gesturing
like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.
- Not to have had to stop for gas and heard
the sad, two-noted, wooden tune
of disparate wooden clogs
carelessly clacking over
a grease-stained filling-station floor.
(In another country the clogs would all be tested.
Each pair there would have identical pitch.)
- A pity not to have heard
the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird
who sings above the broken gasoline pump
in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque:
three towers, five silver crosses.

- Yes, a pity not to have pondered,
blurr'dly and inconclusively,
on what connection can exist for centuries
between the crudest wooden footwear
and, careful and finicky,
the whittled fantasies of wooden cages
- Never to have studied history in
the weak calligraphy of songbirds' cages.
- And never to have had to listen to rain
so much like politicians' speeches:
two hours of unrelenting oratory
and then a sudden golden silence
in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes:

'Is it lack of imagination that makes us come
to imagined places, not just stay at home?
Or could Pascal have been not entirely right
about just sitting quietly in one's room?

Continent, city, country, society:
the choice is never wide and never free.
And here, or there... No. Should we have stayed at home,
wherever that may be? '

Why do we travel? this poem asks. Why not just stay at home and imagine? "Is it lack of imagination that makes us come to imagined places?" The poem addresses beauty, the music of mismatched clogs, songbirds in bamboo cages, the sound of rain and then the “sudden, golden silence” after. By the end it answers its own question by looking at the poem in a different light and in turn invokes the uncertainty and instability of “home.”

Welcome to the Tuesday Platform, the weekly open stage for sharing poems in the Imaginary Garden. Please link up a poem, old or new, and spend some time this week visiting the offerings of our fellow writers.



Ornery Owl of Naughty Netherworld Press and Readers Roost said...

I always find it a bit intimidating to be among the first linkers. I've always been a sit at the back of the class and hope I don't get called on kind of person. But if I don't do it now, I may forget, because I'm also a scatterbrained kind of person.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

@Real Cie; Always a pleasure to have you with us at the Garden. Happy Tuesday!❤️

Jim said...

I'm with Cie on not wanting to be first. But if I don't check in now it will be after five or six hours sleep that I hope to get. This is another 'sitting on the bed write.' It got too long but I wanted the flavor of my reason to drift out and yet tell mostly where I've been.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

@Jim; Thank you so much for joining us this week! Happy Tuesday ❤️

brudberg said...

Sharing a little sonnet I scribbled yesterday.

I will come back tonight to do my readings.

Marian said...

Good morning!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

@Bjorn; Heading over to read you! Have a wonderful day ahead!❤️

@Marian; Good morning, pretty woman!!❤️ xo

Rommy said...

You guys are all up early. 😀 Good morning everyone.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

@Rommy; Good morning, gorgeous!! Heading over to read you!❤️

Kerry O'Connor said...

Sharing an old poem with a new illustration! Thanks for hosting, Sanaa.

Margaret said...

Happy Tuesday everyone. Driving 10 hours today from NYC to North Carolina. I have last weeks challenge and this one to visit and comment. I’ll do that tomorrow.

colleen said...

Hello poets! Everything I learned about life I learned from sewing!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

@Kerry; Loved it! Thank you so much for sharing. Happy Tuesday!❤️

Sanaa Rizvi said...

@Margaret; Wishing you a safe and pleasant journey! See you on the poetry trail!❤️

@Colleen; Thank you so much for joining us, heading over to read you! ❤️

Linda Lee Lyberg said...

Hello Sanaa- thanks for hosting. Adding one this morning. We said good-bye to a dear friend on Sunday, and I am still dealing with my ponderings on death. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Hi everyone. I just wrote a poem that depressed me so much I wont link it, to spare you all. Smiles. I was in tears watching the news last night.

tonispencer said...

A haibun for yiu all. An old one that I reworked

Sanaa Rizvi said...

@Linda; I am so sorry for your loss 😥

@Sherry; These are difficult times .. sigh 😓

@Toni; Thank you so much for sharing, heading over to read you!☕

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Larry, your site will not take my comment, there is no sign in option. But you are lucky to be getting rain. I wish our rainforest was.

robkistner said...

Our World Cup viewing party has finally slowed down. The USA women’s team is on to the final game, so I am so charged up I thought I would post a dark one to unwind.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Thank you for hosting and featuring Elizabeth Bishop.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Thank you so much for linking up this week, everyone! I enjoyed reading your poems!❤️