Starflight

T_S_Eliot_1927_The_Journey_of_the_Magi_No_8_Ariel_Poems_Faber

image at http://www.wikipedia.org

Journey of the Magi

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

 by TS Eliot, publisher Faber and Gwyer, 1927

TS Eliot reads Journey of the Magi

Caught at the airport

bird understand

Image at http://www.giantsandpilgrims.com

Bird-Understander

Of many reasons I love you here is one

the way you write me from the gate at the airport

so I can tell you everything will be alright

so you can tell me there is a bird

trapped in the terminal      all the people

ignoring it       because they do not know

what to do with it       except to leave it alone

until it scares itself to death

 

it makes you terribly terribly sad

 

You wish you could take the bird outside

and set it free or       (failing that)

call a bird-understander

to come help the bird

 

All you can do is notice the bird

and feel for the bird       and write

to tell me how language feels

impossibly useless

 

but you are wrong

 

You are a bird-understander

better than I could ever be

who make so many noises

and call them song

 

These are your own words

your way of noticing

and saying plainly

of not turning away

from hurt

 

you have offered them

to me       I am only

giving them back

 

if only I could show you

how very useless

they are not

by Craig Arnold

Terminal birds

mural sf airport

http://kitundu.com/birdlightwind/2011/11/13/sf-bird-encounters-the-mural