Wednesday, May 02, 2007

the lover within.

I met a poet of the people of Merna. Though it was in the high region of Maris-ma I traveled. Where the Ireb bends and the mountains fall to the sea. Stretching from the central plains. Their cool air sweeping down to the soft light of the lowlands.
He was, as I, a traveler.
I had been journeying long that day and come to a valley. The road out of Maris-ma north into Coricia is a lonely one.
It was spring and the yellow flowers of the acacia blew fresh along the trail. Pines overhung the pathway. The ground was dry and dusty. Its stones were whitened in the bright sunlight. Below me the river flowed.
It was when I left the mountain pathway I saw his horse grazing on the grasses of the valley.
He himself sat by the river bank. His legs were crossed. He wore a white robe and a crimson turban.
I approached him. My feet were covered in dust. I held the stick I used for walking and my bag was slung about my shoulder.
"Greetings stranger," I said.
"Greetings traveler," he replied.
The river murmured. The long grass swayed in the breeze. The mountain peaks shimmered in the high hot air. The clouds were thin in the azure sky.
"It is a fine day," he said.
"It is a fine day," I agreed.
He was silent.
"I do not wish to disturb you," I said. "Yet I noticed you as I came into the valley. I am going north to Coricia. I am a musician who wanders. I learn the songs of the world and they are many. Yet it is my own song I seek."
"You do not disturb me," he replied. "A wanderer as myself is a welcome sight. Few travel this way save for merchants. Or shepherds with their sheep."
"Tell me what is your business stranger," I asked. "For if you are not a merchant or shepherd what brings you to these mountains?"
He looked up at me. In his eyes I saw serenity. As of one who has long looked on a truth. One who has drunk from a stream ever clear. One whose heart is a sun rising.
"What am I? Who am I? Why should you ask?"
"There is no reason I ask," I answered. "Save the bond of one traveller to another."
"Then I will tell you," he said, "I am a poet and more than a poet."
I pondered this.
"What other than a poet are you.?"
His gaze was steady.
"I am a poet and a lover."
"A poet and a lover," I repeated. "Yet if you are a wanderer such as I am where then is the one you love? Does your lover not travel with you?"
He smiled.
"My lover does not travel with me."
"Where then is she?"
"You ask many questions stranger."
"That is true. Yet it was you who stated one does not meet many on these mountain passes. You welcomed me as a traveller. Your replies elicit my many questions."
He beckoned to me to sit.
"My love does not travel with me. Our paths have crossed but once. In a town to the east. Where we sat beneath a great oak and spoke of the numerous pathways through this world.
"She remains there?" I asked.
"Yes. He sits by a fountain. In the surface of the water he sees his face reflected. The rippling of his reflection is the rippling of my love against his soul. He waits for the moon to rise. The night flowers unfold. Their scent is heavy. Such is his heart-opening he must mask himself and find the river's edge. Where he remembers the stars. This is the purpose of love. That we should remember the stars. For they are our home."
I was quiet. For what he said contained some mystery.
"Perhaps that is true," I responded after some time. "Yet do you not desire to be with him."
He looked at me. His eyes searched mine as though appraising my intent.
"How can I desire to be with that which is already with me?" he asked. "How can I search for that I have found?"
"I do not understand," I replied. "How can you be with him and yet he is not with you."
"He is within me as the seed is within the flower. As the ocean is within the wave. The song within the melody. The story within the word."
The surface of the river flashed in the sunlight.
"So you do not wish to return to him?"
"I do not wish to return to him yet I will return to him."
"How will you return to him?"
"I will return to him as the sun returns to the dawn. As the moon finds its fullness. As the river runs to the sea. For that is the way of love. It has its own tide and season. No boundary or distance comes between it and its expression. No authority denies it its unfolding save that of the unbounded heart from which all love springs."

I considered what this poet had said for some time. He returned to his meditation. For that, I understood, was what he did. That was the reason he sat by the river. He looked into the river as though into a stream of time. As though looking into another world.
The sun approached its zenith. It became hot and I rose and walked and waited under a grove of cherry blossom. The poet sat. As though a cool breeze blew about him. No heat touched him.
When the sun began to soften somewhat I returned to the river.

That evening we sat and I reflected.
Sun set and we built a fire. Its flames rose high under the starry sky. I played my music for this poet of Merna and sang in the cool night air.
I rose in the morning and he had saddled his horse. He headed west, for that, he explained was the way his heart spoke.
I took my leave for I was to go north. Coricia called to me.

Copyright (C) Peter Millington London 2006