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Questions Of Travel - Poem by Elizabeth Bishop
There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams
hurry too rapidly down to the sea,
and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops
makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion,
turning to waterfalls under our very eyes.
- For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains,
aren't waterfalls yet,
in a quick age or so, as ages go here,
they probably will be.
But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling,
the mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships,
slime-hung and barnacled.
Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theatres?
What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework,
inexplicable and impenetrable,
at any view,
instantly seen and always, always delightful?
Oh, must we dream our dreams
and have them, too?
And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?
But surely it would have been a pity
not to have seen the trees along this road,
really exaggerated in their beauty,
not to have seen them gesturing
like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.
- Not to have had to stop for gas and heard
the sad, two-noted, wooden tune
of disparate wooden clogs
carelessly clacking over
a grease-stained filling-station floor.
(In another country the clogs would all be tested.
Each pair there would have identical pitch.)
- A pity not to have heard
the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird
who sings above the broken gasoline pump
in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque:
three towers, five silver crosses.
- Yes, a pity not to have pondered,
blurr'dly and inconclusively,
on what connection can exist for centuries
between the crudest wooden footwear
and, careful and finicky,
the whittled fantasies of wooden cages
- Never to have studied history in
the weak calligraphy of songbirds' cages.
- And never to have had to listen to rain
so much like politicians' speeches:
two hours of unrelenting oratory
and then a sudden golden silence
in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes:
'Is it lack of imagination that makes us come
to imagined places, not just stay at home?
Or could Pascal have been not entirely right
about just sitting quietly in one's room?
Continent, city, country, society:
the choice is never wide and never free.
And here, or there... No. Should we have stayed at home,
wherever that may be? '
Comments about Questions Of Travel by Elizabeth Bishop
Poems About Travel
- 1. Questions Of Travel , Elizabeth Bishop
- 2. Travel , Edna St. Vincent Millay
- 3. Travel , Robert Louis Stevenson
- 4. Swallows Travel To And Fro , Robert Louis Stevenson
- 5. The Journey Of A Poem Compared To All Th.. , Delmore Schwartz
- 6. Food In Travel , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- 7. Travel Haiku - The Dead Sea , john tiong chunghoo
- 8. Travel Flowers , Marilyn Lott
- 9. Travel Song , Anne Glenny Wilson
- 10. Travel Haiku - Harbour Island (Eleuthera.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 11. Oh, How I'D Like To Travel , jodi right
- 12. Travel Haiku - The Great Wall , john tiong chunghoo
- 13. 0433 Zen And Travel , Michael Shepherd
- 14. Travel Haiku - New Orleans , john tiong chunghoo
- 15. Roads We Travel , Marilyn Lott
- 16. Travel Haiku - Lake Tahoe , john tiong chunghoo
- 17. Travel Haiku-Flamenco Beach (Puerto Rico) , john tiong chunghoo
- 18. Travel Thailand Haiku - Jim Thompson Ban.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 19. Travel Haiku-Out Islands, Bahamas , john tiong chunghoo
- 20. Travel , Vida Nenadic
- 21. Out-Of-The-Body Travel , Stanley Plumly
- 22. Delight Is The Train Travel , Subbaraman N V
- 23. Travel Haiku - Great Smoky Mountains (Th.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 24. Travel Singapore Haiku - The Singapore .. , john tiong chunghoo
- 25. Travel Haiku - Love Runs Deep At La Sama.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 26. Travel Haiku - St Paddy's Day Ireland , john tiong chunghoo
- 27. Travel Haiku- Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta) , john tiong chunghoo
- 28. Travel Japan Haiku - Mount Fuji (Japan) , john tiong chunghoo
- 29. Travel Haiku - Pawleys Island (South Car.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 30. Travel Haiku - Thai New Year The Songkran , john tiong chunghoo
- 31. Why Travel Around The World? , scarlet red
- 32. Travel Haiku - Arches National Park (Utah) , john tiong chunghoo
- 33. Cambodia Travel Series - Every Fallen St.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 34. Travel Indonesia Haiku - Seven Days In B.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 35. Travel Haiku - Ramon Crater (Israel) , john tiong chunghoo
- 36. Travel Haiku-Turquoise Coast (Turkey) , john tiong chunghoo
- 37. Travel Haiku - Botswana's Okavango Delta , john tiong chunghoo
- 38. Travel Haiku - Outer Banks (North Caroli.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 39. Travel Singapore Haiku - Resorts World A.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 40. Travel Haiku - Carnival In Rio De Janeiro , john tiong chunghoo
- 41. Travel Haiku - Vallencia's Las Fallas (S.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 42. Travel Haiku - Yellowstone National Park.. , john tiong chunghoo
- 43. Travel Singapore Haiku - The Greenery , john tiong chunghoo
- 44. The Joy Of Travel , Marilyn Lott
- 45. Travel Haiku - Alaska's Denali National .. , john tiong chunghoo
- 46. Travel Haiku - Grenada Escapade , john tiong chunghoo
- 47. Travel Haiku - Australian Kangaroo , john tiong chunghoo
- 48. Travel Singapore Haiku - Night Safari , john tiong chunghoo
- 49. Travel Haiku - Soaking Up Great Barrier .. , john tiong chunghoo
- 50. Vietnam Travel Haiku - Saigon War Museum , john tiong chunghoo
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