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Fall 2007 :: Archived Issue

2007 :: Issue 1/Fall :: Travel Fragments

October Song 2006

Judith Azrael

(from an island in Greece)
October 1

I climb the mountain
to a white monastery
Along these footpaths
death and life
are walking hand in hand

October 2

This is a dream
of the sea
washing into shore
Salt trees sway
in the warm wind
The creaky voices
of cicadas
reciting their evening prayers

October 3

Today I give away my heart
and my dreams
I give away my name
I leave them
beneath the olive trees
for anyone to find

October 4

It is evening
and all the chapel bells
are ringing
Donkeys hurry down the lane
their hooves singing
I am going home
going home

October 5

All day the wind
is singing love songs
All day the wind
wraps its arms
around me

October 6

Tonight there is only
the lost light
the last light
and the stars
standing in line
holding out
their empty bowls

October 7

I sit beside the sea
and watch the moon
rise over the mountains
Is this the way
it will always be

October 8

It is autumn
and the owls cry out
in the darkness
Turtles burrow
into the earth
and lizards hide
in the shadows
Tonight the moon
is alone in the sky

October 9

Day after day
nothing changes
The sun makes its slow journey
across the sky
The mountains
saying their prayers
and the sea
the sea
with its salty tears
writing poems
each morning
each evening

October 10

Rain is falling
and all the footpaths
have turned to rushing rivers
On the beach
the sea daffodils
are opening
their white petals
The sousouradas*
bathe in the puddles
and flick
their long graceful tails


October 11

Gray clouds
over the mountains
and the valley
and the sea
A flock of birds
wings hurriedly
across the sky
All day the gods
play their drums
and pour buckets of water
from the sky
This is the way it is today
This is the way it is

October 12

And still the days flow by
The boats arrive and depart
Clouds sweep across the sky
I walk the beaches
and find a perfect shell
bright as a pearl
a teardrop

October 13

A bird is singing
in the moonlight
At dawn it will begin
a long journey
across many seas
many mountains
A bird is singing
in the moonlight

October 14

Forty white doves
soar over the valley
their wings shining
in the sunlight
Eucalyptus trees
sway in the wind
A woman descends
a long white stairway
carrying a yellow bucket
filled to the brim
with olives

October 15

A flock of ducks
glides by
and one yellow butterfly
dips over the sea
The plaintive notes
of a violin
float down
from an open window

October 16

Now the crickets
have grown silent
Summer has departed
its golden light
trailing behind
We gather on the shore
to wave goodbye
We gather on the shore
and watch it disappear

October 17

Tonight we sit
in a wide courtyard
in wind
and darkness
Tonight the children
are singing
their voices
high and sweet as flutes
They sing of stars
and snow falling
over the blue domes
of the churches

October 18

I ride the school bus
from village to village
in the rain
and the wind
All the hillsides
are growing green
and the donkeys
standing patiently
beneath the trees

October 19

Now the rain has ended
Lights from distant islands
glimmer in the darkness
One brave cricket
still sings
a solitary song

October 20

Wherever I go
Someone is singing
a love song
Sometimes it is the birds
or the chapel bells pealing
the hoarse bray
of a donkey
echoing on the hillside

October 21

Tonight the stars
and the moon
have disappeared
Ghost mountains
rise from the sea

October 22

I move to a room
beside the sea
Here life
is stripped bare
Only the sun
and the moon
and the sea rushing
into shore
Bougainvillea swaying
in the breeze
and blue doorways

October 23

I climb high up
in the mountains
Sheep are grazing
Goats are chewing
on thistles
White doves
soar over the valley
and far below
the farmers are plowing
the rich brown soil

October 24

Today is simple
I watch two hawks
flying in wide circles
I see the golden sun
dive headlong
into the sea

October 25

I sit on my balcony
and watch the new moon
rise over the mountain
a bright curve
of light
of hope
It holds a shadow moon
in its arms

October 26

It is almost November
and the sun
is hiding its face
behind the clouds
Where shall I go today
Where shall I go tomorrow

October 27

And still the mountains
are deep in meditation
Day after day
year after year
they sit
without moving

October 28

I dream
I am climbing
every mountain
I sail the seas
around the world
I take nothing with me
only a pen
and a paper
and a prayer

October 29

The wind
blows all my poems away
I watch them
skip happily away
down the long white stairway
I watch them
dancing away
in the sunlight

October 30

A pomegranate
lies on the path
split open
spilling rubies
over the earth
A cat sleeps
on the stone wall
This is only the beginning
of the story
There is so much more
to tell you

October 31

From my window
I watch the rain
falling over the mountains
and the terraces
and the sea
This is the last day
of October
and its tears
spilling hopelessly

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