Persian Legacy - Poem by Thomas Holderfield
My Hafez dream awoke me.
I walked beside a stream of diamonds and gold
then turned toward purple hills to see what I could be.
At first I passed groves of trees both young and old.
Later, they all became ancient and so wise-looking as to seem nearly sentient.
Their unfathomable girth sprung from tangled roots mired in alluvial sediment
deposited long ago by some ancient quaternary sea.
I passed along an old river bed where ancient beasts once did tread.
Their footprints littered the landscape like giant leafs in early Fall.
The distant hills, now mountains, began to fade in the evening light
so I paused to rest in a quiet grove, quiet as the dead.
Then I heard it, a piercing howl, a wild wolf's call!
Still far away and getting further but oh what a fright.
Night fell from where some yellow finches went
in that timelss circadian rythym (or was it Heaven sent?) .
As Apollo's gaze grew cool, cicadas began their nightly chant.
By a darkened pool, drinking deer I saw in rays of light's last slant.
As down the hill must fall the tumbled pail,
so too must Sol end its journey, its zodiacal sail.
I slept but dreamt I was awake
and while awake I dreamed
of distant worlds with many moons
and then was swept, as in a trance
through thick-wooded France
and chateaus with fancy rooms.
Now awake but still asleep it seemed.
How long this journey would it take?
To what end? Whither was I going?
Or was I going anywhere at all?
As quickly as Autumn had arrived, now it was snowing!
Strange times were these - as in a stall!
Sputtering, catching then sputtering again,
like some giant watchmaker's broken clock!
I watched the hands of time at first go 'round
then of a sudden backwards spin!
Like an old Wellian movie, I saw ships run aground
then just as quicly be back in dock!
After what seemed many hours,
I finally got control of things.
Then I heard the sound a Robin sings.
I saw some nearby guarded towers
dim out their lights of coal-born gas
and watched the people stroll to Mass.
As blue Gaia on her axis turns
and towards far horizons yearns,
bright Selene in full glory could be seen
in the pin-holed space where Time's light shined through.
All reflected in the evening dew
while on the milk-sprayed Way did lean.
The promise of Dawn, bold Eos' dream,
as faint light drew forth the Eastern sky
and darkness now began to die.
The stars returned to their celestial tombs
while tides turned and emptied women's wombs.
This watered world left the faint moon's beam
and greated the day as if the first.
I now had to slack my day-long thirst!
So, I wandered into the rustic village
which the looky-loos
and the passers thru
had not yet sought to pillage.
Then Zeus, with fists full of love,
hurled forth a pure white dove.
This omen parked above my head
and I began to feel a primordial dread.
I must away, away I must!
As I shook from shoes the yellow dust,
I, in Dawn-drawn bliss,
prayed a fervent wish
then, doveless, found a nearby well.
Many places yet to see, but not one of them is Hell.
Anxious to see what lay beyond
that now green horizon,
I quickened my gait.
As if towards past women of whom I was fond,
I nearly ran, felt all a-tremble,
plunging forward towards my fate.
I saw a toad as small as a thimble
who smiled at me as I laid eyes on!
Through great deserts of cactus I fled,
through hot and salted sands of deep red.
I passed meadows and new streams,
valleys, swamps and dales.
Past bearded men telling tales,
tales of love and tales of dreams.
Of what now is and soon once was.
And then I spied some pollen fuzz!
Spring had sprung as if at random,
moss was strung from branch to branch.
The croak of frogs, the buzz of bees
made me thank Nature, fall to my knees.
I passed a bustling, hustling ranch
and soon was leaving this small kingdom.
Love birds and herons circled my journey,
wolverines and coyote snapped at my heels.
Lizards, turtles and rabbits fled from my steps.
After many miles, broad oceans appeared.
I could hear the barking of the seals!
Hermit crabs and gulls jousted in their timeless tourney
while I noticed in shock my great, long beard!
I now had passed the last of the great steppes.
Mountains now neared as days went past
so endlessly and yet so fast.
I began to toil up talus and scree.
Great cliffs and glaciers fell to my will
as it seemed my mind had set me free.
Suddenly, with altitude, I felt a chill!
It was with great joy and some glee
that, once at the top of some random peak,
I looked for a sight of that thing which I seek.
But what was this thing and why did I seek it?
The mysts of all an eternity lay before me to see
but not even a hint of some goal, it remained a tight secret.
What I saw next was not random
but surely planned by great gods.
As if in a theater,
I saw history, events unfold!
Great cities rise and fall with riches untold!
Sheets of ice first advance then retreat,
tall forests fall to the axe in defeat.
Herds of bison darkening the waving plain,
puffs of steam from the first Lhasa train.
Undulating and writhing hordes of multi-colored people
ran amock before me like clouds past a steeple.
All manner of life did I see on this day.
Exhuberant in its complexity, I felt I could say,
'There is a creator! '
Weeks and months hurried relentlessly by
while I on my perch took it all in.
I lived off the land so that I would not die.
So lonely was I, with neither kilth nor kin.
But why these great sights to me expose
this Symphony those great gods did compose?
Some teaching or lesson or gift I suppose?
The scene of a sudden did slow
and from my reverie I arose
to the sounds of faint music,
to the scent of a rose.
I struck out towards these awakers of senses,
stumbling downhill, past farms and through fences.
After some unknown period of time (or was it an instant?) ,
I began to see, still vague, stil distant,
a great play had been made
full of cadence and rhyme.
For my entertainment? No! Too sublime.
From out of the dreaded dreary dregs of Winter,
I had felt embraced by and drank in the libations of Spring.
But now all seasons paused (though not ended)
as I stopped on a rise, really quite winded!
This playwrite, I feared, was now drawing near!
The now clear sound was as if from sage or some seer.
Past a turn in the road, as light began to fade,
past dusk-couraged deer,
I could now just perceive
(or did senses decieve?)
just who by that heavenly music was made.
An old thin man all dressed in white
with halos aglowing and flowing all 'round
came into view and, Oh, what a sight!
Seven inches of white beard, by his side a white hound.
Upon a seven-holed flute of reed he played
while seven lotuses of light on his body were laid.
He sat legs folded just above the damp ground
and continued his playing as if to astound.
Indeed, in awe was I struck,
I fell on my hands and knees,
behind a rock I did duck.
Amidst the Seven Seas
he and I lived out this ancient dance.
Was all this by design or all just by chance?
Which was reality when both seemed so real?
Awake or asleep, what's the difference I thought.
'I' was as present in both or either.
Both states made me equally feel.
Either state posed questions whose answers I sought.
And which did I prefer? Was it one or neither?
As a ray shined down upon the top of his head
and with a twinkle in his eye,
the old man gave me one sideways glance.
I took off my muddy shoes and pants
as the glow under him seemed made of fire.
I crept out onto unstable soil
as puddles of water began then to boil.
Then, as I grew ever more nigh,
I gently fell asleep and saw nothing more.
As if I were dead,
passed through a great door.
My Hafez dream awoke me.
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