MaryLynne Wrye
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Journey

Every traveler must return changed.

 I will go to sleep  and awake in Istanbul.  The dreams, already here  keep arriving. I am flying.  The plane must land on the water.  It becomes a boat: the sunlight golden     as my memories are golden, born as I was in the East,   the call to prayer a sound of my earliest knowing,  a deep knowing of my own foreignness  both to the land of my birth and to the house of my parents.     Istanbul along the Bosphorus, place of meeting  for thousands of years, where East and West strike  as in my own heart. The dreams arrive  against a destination still imaginary. I will go to sleep  and awake there.

I will go to sleep

and awake in Istanbul.

The dreams, already here

keep arriving. I am flying.

The plane must land on the water.

It becomes a boat: the sunlight golden

 

as my memories are golden, born as I was in the East, 

the call to prayer a sound of my earliest knowing,

a deep knowing of my own foreignness

both to the land of my birth and to the house of my parents.

 

Istanbul along the Bosphorus, place of meeting

for thousands of years, where East and West strike

as in my own heart. The dreams arrive

against a destination still imaginary. I will go to sleep

and awake there.

 The wind roses of September  are already charted on the waters of the sea:  the slap of the jib, the shadow of the hull,   my shadow on the water, on the water deepening,  the familiar future.

The wind roses of September

are already charted on the waters of the sea:

the slap of the jib, the shadow of the hull, 

my shadow on the water, on the water deepening,

the familiar future.

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 There is no way from here  to pay a change fee  for my flight on Turkish Air.  The agent apologizes, telling me  I am not there  until I arrive.     I cannot change   unless I go.  And to be changed by a place  is to gain again   myself.     Don't I long to be recognized?  When I leave, will this place remember me?  This water, these stones? These dusty  light-dappled pine woods I have loved?

There is no way from here

to pay a change fee

for my flight on Turkish Air.

The agent apologizes, telling me

I am not there

until I arrive.

 

I cannot change 

unless I go.

And to be changed by a place

is to gain again 

myself.

 

Don't I long to be recognized?

When I leave, will this place remember me?

This water, these stones? These dusty

light-dappled pine woods I have loved?

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 In the smallest moments  I see my childhood:  an alley, a fence, shoes  outside a door  and the sun at noon  raging in the perfect silence.

In the smallest moments

I see my childhood:

an alley, a fence, shoes

outside a door

and the sun at noon

raging in the perfect silence.

 Anchored out in the empty night,   the silent water,  when the mast sounds  a single long note.     In port with many boats around,  each mast sounds its own tone  in a chorus, inhuman but compelling,  a dream of the wind.

Anchored out in the empty night, 

the silent water,

when the mast sounds

a single long note.

 

In port with many boats around,

each mast sounds its own tone

in a chorus, inhuman but compelling,

a dream of the wind.

 Every journey is an advance  towards a receding goal.  The summers of my past   in the salt air, the tang of mustard weed  will never return  just as I will never be of this place.     Mystery builds on mystery.     To come here is to see  doors I will never enter,   hear words I will never utter, gaze down  paths I will never follow.     The call to prayer that echoes back  from hills and buildings is a call  I answer and yet never will,  this song, this beckoning.

Every journey is an advance

towards a receding goal.

The summers of my past 

in the salt air, the tang of mustard weed

will never return

just as I will never be of this place.

 

Mystery builds on mystery.

 

To come here is to see

doors I will never enter, 

hear words I will never utter, gaze down

paths I will never follow.

 

The call to prayer that echoes back

from hills and buildings is a call

I answer and yet never will,

this song, this beckoning.

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 We meet an imam, keeper of goats.  He comes down to the beach from his house,   through the ravine. He waves us ashore,   goats gathering to him. Singer of prayers,  bee tender, he waves us ashore.     Due into port we cannot take his offer  to have tea in his home.  How can we tell him  what he has already given?     We imagine ourselves sitting  drinking tea with him.  We see the small hut, the bee hives,   the olive grove, the makeshift mosque.  We hear him singing     as we climb the path from the beach.  His voice electrifying in the forest,   in the stillness  deepened by fallen pine needles.

We meet an imam, keeper of goats.

He comes down to the beach from his house, 

through the ravine. He waves us ashore, 

goats gathering to him. Singer of prayers,

bee tender, he waves us ashore.

 

Due into port we cannot take his offer

to have tea in his home.

How can we tell him

what he has already given?

 

We imagine ourselves sitting

drinking tea with him.

We see the small hut, the bee hives, 

the olive grove, the makeshift mosque.

We hear him singing

 

as we climb the path from the beach.

His voice electrifying in the forest, 

in the stillness

deepened by fallen pine needles.

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 Memories flutter before me;  I can hardly contain them. They are almost  straight from my muscle and bone:  the sweetness of the fig tree in the afternoon heat,   the spice of pine, dust and silver olive leaves,   the wind through the pines  singing middle notes.     Corners lifting, the present, caught  by the past it is making, starts to reel,  as we do now when we go on shore,   stairs and streets swaying, events flutter:  we cannot contain them.

Memories flutter before me;

I can hardly contain them. They are almost

straight from my muscle and bone:

the sweetness of the fig tree in the afternoon heat, 

the spice of pine, dust and silver olive leaves, 

the wind through the pines

singing middle notes.

 

Corners lifting, the present, caught

by the past it is making, starts to reel,

as we do now when we go on shore, 

stairs and streets swaying, events flutter:

we cannot contain them.

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 Trying to hold departure to one point  I invent the moment--  when I disembark for the last time,   turning my head to look back at the water--     but I lose my own leaving  in countless tiny fractures  as cloth slowly rending,  time wrested away.

Trying to hold departure to one point

I invent the moment--

when I disembark for the last time, 

turning my head to look back at the water--

 

but I lose my own leaving

in countless tiny fractures

as cloth slowly rending,

time wrested away.

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