Hippie Squared: That Curious Ribbon (The Essential Metaphor)

Lately I’ve been thinking about life as a journey again–the inescapable, essential metaphor:

That Curious Ribbon

What other metaphor
Can I really imagine for all this
Than a journey
Down a ribbon of road?

Then the metaphors crowd in.
Just to ask is to call them round.
But I take off running that curious ribbon
And leave them all behind.

Each day I need my pinch–
Just a pinch to get by–
Of leave-taking.
Just to waver in my body for that sweet instant.

Trudging up a dusty path through scrub
Five puffing minutes to command a vista
Successive rows of hills and houses
Infinite sky and tumbling clouds.

Just to waver in my self for that sweet instant.
The threat of leaving.
The promise of leaving.
The necessity to stay.

Each day I long to lose my way.
Just one wrong turn each day I pray
Will keep me
Squarely on my way.

This body with its tastes.
This skin with what it knows and finds.
These eyes that sting and baptize.
Never can it all be seen, never.

Each face looks out
With the eyes of every face
And every arrow points north.
But every arrow is set spinning in the wind.

Friends pull round the fire and rest
Call out stories and jokes
Swirl in their own heads and sing.
In the morning each one heads north

In a different direction.
Each head will find its own pillow.
Whether on stones or feathers
Some heads are harder than others.

What metaphor is found by this one
When this one finally lays down
But the sleep at the end of the day
The bed in some far elbow of the road?

And that curious ribbon
Winds on through dreams
Swallows its own tail
Drums on its own skull.

So many miles left still for thinking.
To walk and brood, staring at the ground,
A knotted ribbon of furrows
Wending its way across my brow

As I work and work
The fingers of my mind
To tear loose the most stubborn
Knots in that ribbon.


Photo Credit: jek in the box {is home} (click on the pic for details)