Roads
I.
To look at the face of a road:
gravel and rocks from places unknown
brought here and spread out before you;
a place for your feet as they're leaving
a funnel forward, you've got to push on
its dagger pierces the distance.
Travel its promises
real or imagined, or can you tell
a destination beyond the next bend
behind the horizon, something you'll find.
II.
Kneel, let your hand grasp a pebble
the color of earth, edges worn smooth:
so like that first thought of leaving,
comfortably fitting your hand
And the world has trodden its roads
since beginning of time
breathlessly running from Marathon
two miles more to Athens - you can't collapse yet
they all led to Rome for a while,
and Mecca just once in your life,
then gather your cause
three chances to leave:
Jerusalem waits for crusaders;
trek Westward to possess all that lies
between a new world's two oceans,
while mud freezes rockhard to two armies' boots
drowning in cold and in snow
where the roads to Moscow twice failed them.
III.
They arch to the sky,
slim soaring fingers of concrete and steel
pierce through the citysky haze,
vaulting the pylons that bear them;
upward they curve round each other in flight
bridging the air, they leap to eclipse one another,
while down in their shadow the freeways still dream
of freedom --
of things that could still lie beyond their next bend,
another horizon, still something to find.
Jon Bohrn (1998)

 

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