The World as my Palette


Sometimes inspiration comes on the winding road to Jerusalem.

Up, up, past the war-scarred forest the city suddenly appears,

a mirage of its ancient splendor.

Sometimes it’s stirring in the waters of the Dead Sea,

an illusion of calm,

a witch's brew of magnesium, bromide, and salt.

Sometimes it vibrates in a tiny guest room in Pushkar,

while the dawn puja bells

lure humans and cows to the sacred lake.

Sometimes it seeps from smoking pyres in Varanasi

and the tainted River Ganges,

a bizarre juxtaposition of fire and water.

Sometimes it oozes from a muddy Venetian lagoon,

sunken gondolas still creaking,

accompanied by the murmur of long-ago dead.

As I stand in Burano’s Baldasarre Gallupi square,

only I hear the tinny sound of his harpsichord,

as he plays my favorite adagio from Sonata VII.

How could he know me so well? He died in 1785.

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