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I have the sparkling stars above, still sixpence in my purse,
Those pounding waves to stoke art's blaze, a breeze to slake my thirst;
An earthen track lies underfoot, confines the route I roam,
And keeps me true as through the woods I pace the journey home.

Much time I've squandered in the town, with no real goal at heart
But to assuage some vague desire to mix in, play a part
Within the thronging multitude on throbbing, pulsing course,
Arterial-bound, around and round like ants that know no pause.

Yet town life proves no curative for solitary bent:
'To see but not be seen' my ploy and paramount intent,
My epithet and epitaph, my creed, my Holy Land;
I am the child of wilds and wastes, the heir to arid sands.

In youth's fair flush I yoked the winds, a tiller in my grasp,
And two or three of seven seas were circled without charts,
To quest for long-lost paradise, some far unsceptered isle
Where time might slow its rolling march along the everwhiles.

Oft dipped I in the lake of dreams to seek a seer's stone,
Though barely-rippling waters merely mirrored truths well-known;
Their placid but alluring beauty never yet laid bare
The demiurge submerged beneath illusion's glass veneer.

For years, it seemed, I'd settled into journeyman's routine –
The daily rites of jive, fandango, quadrille, and beguine.
As seasons changed the dance hall morphed into a battlefield
Of feint and skirmish, whirling dervish, parry, thrust, and yield.

When dusk drew in late autumn's folds a bitter peace I'd won.
But I've the moon to light my way (though dancing days be done)
And stars to roof a sylvan bower, where I'll this fate abide
With oily painter's stains as wounds, the which I'll wear with pride.

I have the moon, I say, the stars, and sixpence in my purse.
What want, then, of an audience? What point in prose or verse
But to amuse myself and, well, to satiate deep needs.
My soul's my own; alone I'll rove wherever starlight leads.
the route I roam

photos: Stephen Alsford
yoked the winds

illusion's glass veneer

Created: June 7, 2015. Last modified: July 9, 2015 © Stephen Alsford