In The Name of Poetry















A Himayalan Voyage


To trace one’s Way, royal and true
That is the mettle of every tempered hero ;
To hie over mountain and forest through
Reaping the efforts of one who had begun at zero.


For here the air grows cleaner, the tree-leaf brighter,
The morning and evening Light so limpid and pure ;
For it is this Essence that has offered every climber
The resistence to fray a Way into junifer-green cure.


The sun sets in this welkin kingdom throbbing orange and red,
The stars pierce the groined vault so dark of indigo ink ;
Dawn emerges, her chariot on the move of steeds well bred,
Ascending into the frosty sky of this new day, rosy pink.


These velvety snows so royal to the touch
Above which loom crimson spur and spree ;
The whole scene framed within a tessellated hush
Of ebony hues and streaky ochres of obsidian weave.


And higher still, peaks and crests shine blue
Whose eternal ice, thick and cold,
Glows an uncanny hoary hue,
Glazy and white, making merry within this sapphire fold.


The sky quickly clouded over with grey
Steeping the blues and whites in shadows, dank ;
The jagged forms grew hostile, frowned in fray,
Pinnacles cowed as the last crimson rays of the sun sank.


An aperture magically opened on the skirt of the mountain
Exposing robes and robes of some flaming Form ;
Gigantic, whose divine nimbi enshrined a fiery Fountain,
Puissant Source that caused whirls and whirls of a raging storm.
There ! Atop a rough, stone-hewn stairway a Goddess sat,
Winy red eyes windowing a soul suffused with craft and wiles ;
Upon her head a mighty miter, under bare feet a bejewelled mat,
From which streams of turbulent shafts hurled for miles and miles.


The fantastic scene transmuted into a pulsating agate sheen
Whose river courses ran swiftly of molten ochre-ore,
Down mountain skirts gleaming with that obsedian gleam
Whilst the Goddess made tremble the Earth straight to its very core.


Our pilgrim suddenly found himself in the dead of night,
The full moon drawn against a thick lofty blue ;
From afar at the foot of a mountain ridge a distant village bright
Glowed under the soft mellow beams of the lunar hue.


The night, so cool, refreshing whose creamy blush of pink
Relieved volcanic tensions, strain and fiery taste ;
He approached the dormant village, vibrating under a flush of zinc
As moonbeams undulated under the weight of a myriad cloudlets in haste.


Our hero reached the proud tableland upon which lay the tiny hamlet
Then hied to the boundary of crumbling chortens of clay ;
There no one appeared, neither from oculi nor doorlet,
The sepulchral silence behesting him to penetrate the dwellings in pisé.


The kneaded clay walls stood desolate and sulky,
Smooth, shiny laboured schist flaking into piles ;
Nothing stirred within this roanish maroon murky,
Thus he bent forward, stepping noiselessly over shards of clayey tiles.


After having slept in the warm lair of some absent beast,
At the break of Dawn the gallant pilgrim alertly crept out
To discover an illumined snow-coiffed mountain, a visual feast,
Below which striped flows of violet and turquoise appeared to spout.


The floating, pointy peaks he deemed second to none,
Their wierd configurations invoking marvelous images in his mind :
Was he now alive to the play of Light and Shade as One ?
Discerning the game beneath the white coated schist and mountain pine ?


Glossy was this wonderful tinge, a glaze of festal rouge,
Nestled and nuzzled within crevice, palisade and bluff ;
Ruddy rays dazzled off the fretted ridges, gorged the rippled grooves,
Dancing agog, merrily upon obsedian, both smooth and rough.


Deep purple crescendoes rolled and rumbled into valleys, ashroud
With plunging particles of thick brume and mist ;
A solitary peak hung stoic, glossy, marble proud
Above a creamy ocean aflow with jasper, agate and mica schist.


Our pilgrim waded through the frothy, wonderland spume
In search of a den, a lair … any adventitious shelter ;
There, on the snowy slope, a refuge of massive stone hewn
By magic arose, flaky flakes of snow dancing about it, helter-skelter.


At dawn he rejoiced at the reddening of the sun
From his humble abode, the snows a pastel coral and mauve ;
Blushing bountifully off the bevels of a far off range from
Whose crest blazed loftily its piedbald, iridescent halo.


The whole pastel scene drew him dreamily outwards,
Pulled and tugged until reaching the lower plains ;
The dense mist, wisps thready, drifted southwards,
Led him onwards and inwards as his musings went and came.


The pilgrim then erred along a limpid lake of smalt,
Not one ripple or splash did he hear ;
Nearer to the shores a powdery sodalite sfumato made him halt
To gaze up at a peak of pink rising out of the blue like a spear.


The spectacle flared up before him framed by strata of blue,
An azure so sapphire-like, so crystal cobalt,
Stretching beyond the rippleless, enamaled hue
Into the flanks of granite ridges, bedecked with dapples of fey salt.


Ah ! The oriflames of life leaped within his drunken soul
As if he had sipped the fumes of some methy wine ;
The purple of the mountainous contours chimed a solemn toll
As he crunched along the snaky sheet of icy lapis azuli divine.


And there, upon a summit of diamond-tipped ice
A dzong resounded, snapping the brittle airy mauves ;
Our hero, delighted at this beckon of sensuous entice
Slipped ever so gently into their glittering violet and lilac coves.


Behold, aloft on the left of the path of russet clay,
Past the sloping beige, roan and sable,
He percieved a plateau upon which a village lay
Wafting in the dusk like some mediaeval legendary fable.


It stood out magically from the massive mountain mighty,
As if enshrined within fuzzy amber folds ;
A full sharp moon yellowish and bighty
Ignited a path aside chortens and fey souls.


The soundless village blending into the ruddy henna rock naked
Stirred not at the stealthy approach of the interloper unknown ;
He breathed deeply the crisp, clean, clayish air, sacred,
Halted to inhale the wondrous sparkle of amber and coarsen roan.


Yet nothing moved, tossed nor pitched,
No one prancing, cheerful or gay ;
Everything remained a statuesque stillness, mute as if hitched
To the jutting crags aglittering under moonbeams of frazzled bay.


The forlorn village bore a ghastly visage, enshrouded in a spectral aura,
Abandoned to goblins and ghouls … giants and dwarves of yore ;
A necropolis of wizened rock, languished pisé, pining flora,
Where the hordes of Himalayan demons had enacted their lore.


Our pilgrim turned and turned amongst the ruins of the doomed village,
Racing to and fro like some insane escapee ;
Listening attentively to the events of some ancient pillage,
Bewitched by the traces of lifeless sculpture, of frightful effigy.


Estranged, he weaved his way within a warren of lane and court,
Where low mud walls lay in pitiful debris ;
The bricks of terre cuite scattered about caused much distraught
To our sullen hero’s spirit, so dauntless and hardy.


Alas, so lost he felt within the vortex of such demonic might,
So tiny amongst the doings of the Divine ;
Indeed he remained the only living Being in sight,
The only echo bearing witness to some human sign.


The ever-questing pilgrim raised his eyes to the grey moon soapy
As if in prayer, meditation, reverence ;
Then dropped to his knees exhausted and weary,
And there on the frozen soil heeded to the voices of mute reminiscence …

Paul Mirabile received his Ph.D in Romance Mediaeval philology at the University of Vincennes-St. Denis, Paris VIII. He has travelled and worked for over forty-nine years in Africa, Europe, Turkey, India, China and Russia, where he taught History, philology, languages at universities or secondary schools, whilst studying, translating and publishing mediaeval epic tales of the aforesaid countries.


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