Hiram Bingham was a scholar
who wanted to explore
worlds outside his study window,
beyond his college door.
Once he heard of Vilcabamba,
was somewhere in Peru,
so he set off for the Andes,
maybe the myth was true.
The lost city of the Incas
was what he sought to find.
His guide was Melchor Arteaga,
so his steps were not blind.
From the river Apurimac,
he crossed the jungle line,
to the air paths of the condor,
cut through bamboo and vine.
On the slopes stood ancient stone work,
half hid by moss and fern,
walls of Inca Manco’s mansions,
his heart began to burn.
Happily Hiram Bingham
found more than was his dream.
The remains of Vilcabamba
was silver in the stream.
Happily Hiram Bingham
searched for Inca Manco’s mansions.
What Was Washed Up By The Sea
( new version )
What was washed up by the sea,
we study on the shore,
empty shells and bits of wood,
weeds the waves tossed and tore.
Time to watch the tall ships go,
begin an ocean race.
From quieter centuries,
mast and sail pass with grace.
There’s only now, swallows say.
Rise with the dew of dawn.
We’re sorry now, seagulls cry.
For mariners they mourn.
Taken by the horizon,
the last tall ship sails on.
I step by a razor shell,
another stranger gone.
Better Than A Dream
I could have come to you in a Chinese junk,
an Egyptian sail boat on the Nile,
rich with Oriental treasures in my trunk,
Persian ruby to reflect your smile.
Through fantasy I came to you by camel,
then by rickshaw and paddle steamer,
in a barge on low land canal and channel
with no bus or tram for a dreamer.
I would have walked,
if it weren’t for border controls,
people asking for passports and papers,
eyes hard with mistrust and suspicion.
I could have walked,
and reached my destination.
I could have landed in your city square
in an air balloon,
but in reality, more straightforwardly,
I met you at the airport.
The other ways would have taken too long,
been too slow.
We would have been together far less soon.
Flew over the south Caucasian mountains.
Here and there, I saw the bare stone gleam.
We stood in Republic Square by the fountains.
Felt your hand, was better than a dream.
No Thunder Yet
No thunder yet, best be wary though, could be soon,
weather men warn.
Later, clouds lower, bulge, darken,
turn black, dark blue, swollen
with trapped tempests.
Bomber plane bold, they frighten, threaten.
Like tables for a banquet set
spread summer gardens,
defiantly green, yellow.
Birds, butterflies, moths and bees,
the invited guests,
observed by magpie servants in the trees.
For now, storms stay south,
but lightning could come,
to flash on roofs, crack horizons.
If I live that long,
maybe I will have my moment,
like King Lear on the heath,
find words to have my say,
my silent soul will speak,
prove that I see clearly through poverty and pomp.
What I learned of life’s unfairness I would condemn,
its brief beauty praise.