Omo River Pilgrim
To start from the source
and not from the mouth
is an instinct of the worshipper,
the traveler intent on something more
than cinematic tableaux
plunging one after another
into the mind's eye
to feed the soul's hunger
for fascinating pointless dreams.
He starts in the miniscule emptiness,
a reverse image of Chaos,
having loved too much
or not enough.
And down from the mountain
follows the stream,
gaining momentum and tumult,
marching toward the right place
to embark upon the water itself.
The distant wailing of the sea
beyond the ocean-bred acacia plains,
behind the vaporous rising sun
(a veil slowly lifted from the green
sleeping savannah, from the demon
marks the pilgrim's daylong chant
in the rhythm of his walk.
Remembering the myths of childhood
and the myths of maturity,
knowing that the fatal books are
buried forever, he owes his journey
to the sun
and his yearning for it to the darkness.
The river is his music
and his path,
his distant fanfare
announcing the gates of Habashat,
where all good pilgrims, poets,
lovers and saints
have stopped to rest
and listen to the babble of Eternity.