For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Slowing Down

I slowed right down today,
Just slowed right down.
How little we see most of the time!
So I slowed right down.

And saw a fork-tailed kite circle then drift
On a blue highway, until it was no more.

I cracked a sunflower shell between my teeth
And curled the seed out with my tongue,
The taste intense and bitter-sweet.
It hit my palate like a burst of sun.

Today I listened to a stream
Trickle then rush from Extremadura
Into Castilla y León.
I heard the hollow clunk of cow bells
Jangle like Tibetan wind chimes.

I smelled a cistus bush today.
It reeked of incense. And I sniffed
The fragrant, bitter scent of thyme,
The aromatic tang of eucalyptus.

Today I felt a mat
Of soft, green moss under my hand,
And, underfoot, crunched oak leaves, crisp and brown,
And spiky chestnut husks, like tiny hedgehogs.
I fingered the jagged edge of stones,
Felt the smooth roundedness of rock.

I slowed right down today.
I slowed right down.
How blind we are to what is happening!
How quickly we walk on!

But for today
I slowed, I slowed right down.
I slowed.
I slowed.
I slowed time down.

I slowed... my self...

Right...

Down...

(Written four days ago between Baños de Montemajor and La Calzada de Béjar. Posted from Salamanca, on the Vía de la Plata, Spain.)

6 comments:

Rachel Fox said...

It's like being right there with you!
x

Tramp said...

Hope you get plenty out of this. One day, one day...
Waiting for spring to get on with the E10 across Bohemia. Meanwhile looking at maps to plan a walk east of here sticking as close as possible to the latitude of where I live.

am said...

That's a good sign that you are moved to write poetry. Your images are clear to me, and I see that you aren't all that far from Avila. Spain must be much like parts of California. If my eyes were closed, and I smelled eucalyptus and thyme, I would guess that I was in California.

Dominic Rivron said...

A really good one. Sometimes people post their own poems on their blogs - sometimes they post their favourite poets' poems. I started to read this and wondered-- so i scrolled down, expecting a famous name at the bottom...

I can feel it, I can smell it... It's sensual and spiritual - it challenges that dualism.

(Would I end it at

How quickly we walk on! ?

First time I thought yes, second, no, third time, yes...)

By the way, just posted two posts about my dad you might be interested in.

gleaner said...

So glad you slowed down - I liked this poem. The heightened senses of the outside world when one feels misplaced or alienated - a way that gradually draws one back into feeling connected.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! So different from what I'm getting to experience here, in the woods of the Midatlantic Coast! I'm tramping with snowshoes thru the forest! But the reminder to go slow will be well heeded! and should be by all! Gracias, Karin