January 17th, 2005

I Must Tread Alone

Saturday the bright but cold and windy weather put me in a melancholy mood. The seagull floating above Castello Aragonese off Ischia Ponte reminded me of a poem by William Cullen Bryant, “To a Waterfowl.” It’s about appearing to be alone in the sky/universe, but like the bird we nevertheless are guided and cared for by a divine spirit, and thus we aren’t really alone, ever.

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.

He, who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.

But the poem always strikes me as existentialist. As for Bryant’s intent, he was hardly a lonely spirit. He had early success and was surrounded by a large, loving family. I guess it’s just me, eh?

I was on a mission to the other side of the island yesterday to locate a tiara. A tiara? Yes. Why? Because La principessa piccola asked me to get her one for her birthday. I peered into the windows of virtually every shop from Porto to Ponte, and entered three of them, but no luck. Perhaps I’ll have to go to Napoli, or Roma.

Meanwhile I took more pictures. Somehow capturing images that reflect my angst has the paradoxical effect of lightening it. I wonder what in hell I’d do if I weren’t a writer and photographer?