Pilgrimage in Winter
Praise for the hill and the cold air over the hill,
the stones on the hill, the stones on stones, the stone
in my hand. The one who moved me over the land,
may you rest well, brave soul; may blessings fall
on those you led from the cruelest fields and those
you helped bring forth. Great worker, receive this stone,
these feet, these tears. I will be leaving soon,
lest figures form or I start taking stock.
I know what Buber meant: measure has fled,
shadow and light have joined. There is no picture.
For a moment (where are its edges?) I was with you,
a moment past the fence around myself.
A fenceless hill it seemed, without a tree;
a glittering snow came down later that day
and blessed the stones. By then I had gone home,
but nothing was the same. I mean this not
in a colloquial sense. I mean: the desk
had lost its former purpose. Sitting to write,
I buoyed with words. I took a walk and sang
the snowfall, marveled at the marks of paws,
and thought again of clambering up that hill,
and praised the source of chill around my head.
It happens to you, and you walk alone.
This truth comes over you, this secret that
can never be a secret, as it's all
that has been known and all that can be known.
No, that's not true. My speck was just a speck;
against it, an encyclopedia
could still do well, I figure. All the same,
I walk bareminded to the end of love.
Thank you for the company of good prophets.
Thank you for the closed fountain underground.
Here is the mark of all that I have met;
here is the mark of dignity in stone.
Where, though, where are you? Memory wraps up,
unwraps again, and wraps, but finds you not.
Stones there were many. The one I left behind
joined a sweet multitude; I didn't mind.
Music is made of multitudes like this.
Somewhere, in the kindred air, there were songs.
A miracle your life; a miracle
to know a speck of it through hill and stone.