I wrote this poem some time ago, on a warm Saturday morning in summer, when I was doing a shift in the Art Gallery.
The Wanderer and the Tower
To an old stone tower
in a town by the sea
came a wandering mystic
his mind shaking with writhing thoughts,
ideas that frightened him as much as they inspired.
The tower was ancient,
an arched empty window,
a view across the harbour
where moored boats creaked
on the currentless water,
a sea-wall cobwebbed with heavy tar-brown nets.
The Wanderer stood for hours unspeaking
at the tower's high window
watching blue banners
tremble in the torpid air
keeping his mind empty.
He could remember the name of every field he'd walked through.
He had heard the voice
of every river he had crossed.
He had learned the earth-knowledge
that the trees had to teach
and knew the ways of small animals
and of those pensive formless beings that had always followed him.
He knew how they had watched him
carefully, with solemn love.
Once they had told him stories
but now they kept silent
waiting at the corners of his thoughts
where sometimes he believed that he could almost see them.
Even now they watched,
crouched behind him in the tower room
attentive though no longer speaking
as he waited through the motionless day
for the quiet warm evening
and the glimpse of the first and brightest star, reflected in deep water.