Travelling and Sitting Still


      "Alas, 'tis true I have gone here and there
      And made myself a motley to the view."

You think you're going someplace
when you're sailing through the sky
at five miles up, over the Pacific.
Or when you're jammed in the station
waiting for the train to Kyoto
or when the streetcars are clanging
or it's shove against shove to get a table
where you eat sushi or some dish Hungarian,
or when you're filling out forms
or handing the passport over or waiting
for a green arrow bus next to a greasy pylon.
You're consumed in travel, in just getting
yourself and loved ones through the queue.
You try to take care of your own, even
as time takes care of itself. The ship
with lowered sail arrives to bear you back.
Moon's out. But there comes a moment,
be it in Wales or deep in the hold of that ship
plowing deadhead through the night,
when you're back to the essential. A cup
of tea is less elusive than snow
on Snowdon or Fuji. For companion
a cricket should be sufficient, along
with time that is taking care of itself.


David Ray, Music of Time: Selected & New Poems, The Backwaters Press, 2006.