Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, and a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and porpoise …
East Coker T S Eliot
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time…
Little Gidding T S Eliot
Le vrais voyageurs sont ceux-là seuls qui partent
Pour partir; coeurs légers semblables aux ballons,
De leur fatalité jamais ils ne s’écartent,
Et, sans savoir pourquoi, dissent toujours: Allons!
Here's a place to leave, where you prepare
For hardship, discard surplus provisions,
And strain your eyes to see the horizon's
Continuous path, to catch, in its long stare,
The lure of one, parting, who looks over
A shoulder at you; and who you must follow,
If only to touch what's fleeting and know
What comes next; and before you get older
Embrace what you are not. For curiosity's
A virtue, source of energy and love, and travellers
Are lovers, unmoved without a star that dares
Them, with its light and distant promises,
To say goodbye to what they understand,
Good morning to an undiscovered land.
Poised upon this vantage point or that, you
Can expect to see only to the edge
Of what you count as true. And there, an age
Away, breaks a sea, where it seems a new
World starts, or, if not new, where old stories
Cease to be in charge, and every certainty
Drowns in the moving water and the sky
Rises downwards, fades, and past thoughts freeze.
Yet, don't think the case is closed: what happens
Next is full of wonder, and what you'll find
May seem to have no use, yet shines and runs
Like water in the gullies of the mind,
Once dry and untenanted like the moon's
Seas, now potent as a new book opened.
Best not to think too much once plans are made.
Leave without goodbyes. Discard the text
Other travellers use; keep little in your head
Except the need to know what happens next
In the story you make up as you go.
Prudence is the first thing to jettison,
Then take your leave of habit and say "no"
To every comfort you have ever known.
New patterns in chaos to discover,
First lose your way, see the needle spin,
Take moon for sun, not know what world your in,
Till, the first stage of your journey over,
You glimpse a path that seems impossible,
And know, at once, where your next step must fall.
Now it's too late to turn back; the passes
Behind you are blocked with fallen rocks; the plains,
Drowned; and on the sands you crossed, no traces
Of footsteps stay, templates of future plans.
Now figures appear like dots, spare, remote,
That will grow large and strange when they get close,
Till, human eye to human eye, they note
In you, a thing without sense or purpose,
A mushroom person sprung up over night.
You make signs and speak of food or water.
They lead, you follow, nothing to sell or barter,
Bewildered, ready, if needs be, to fight
For survival; for surely you cannot tell
If it's fear or hate their cold greetings spell.
The people here are hard to understand;
Nothing you brought could have eased the way:
As they draw wider circles in the sand
The less you know what they are trying to say.
Expect the unexpected at each step:
Customs that turn yours upside down; language
Without roots you recognise.
You're in deep; curiosity roused, you want to gauge
If there is any interest or hope
In the way they greet you; for you're alone;
Their projects seem to be beyond your scope
And their slogans, chanted in a passion,
Whose source - love, hate or religious belief -
You judge a well of unquenchable grief.