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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Caravanserai

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Caravanserai


Cords of silken blood flow in the peaks
and passes of my body, a traveling

miracle, while I read the news,
all of which barely reaches me—

economies of elections, wars, and
minerals harvested from asteroids

in the celestial commerce of billionaires.
Numb with armchair trade,

I remember the seduction
of the Silk Road. Quieted, I hear

spirit through the flutes of my bones—
the music of the steppes, the tinkle of pots

on your back. I smell the fust of Turkish
rugs on the floor and know

I would walk a thousand miles
to curl up on felt-covered stone with you

and these other traveling strangers, harbored
inside trusted walls, away from danger.

In the morning we finger sunrise apricots
in a copper breakfast bowl

before recommencing our planetary
journey, a mouthful of sweet chai, and I ask

what you know of the soul’s trade—
its breakdowns, its tinkerings

its thieves and swindlers? And you say,
Tonight we will come again to a caravanserai,

a courtyard of companionship, a warm stop
on the long road. Nothing else matters.


April 2012

Note: One of the thrills of my life was staying with Don, our two children, and my sister in a Caravanserai in Turkey, an outpost along the Silk Road where for centuries caravaners were given three nights free lodging, food and fodder for their animals. It was far from “free” as a hotel when we lodged, but worth every penny to me. These stone fortresses were built in a huge square, with one front portal large enough for camels to pass through. Rooms for sleeping were around the outer edge on the second floor, while service rooms, including a Turkish bath and shops to repair horseshoes, filled the lower floor. In the middle was a courtyard where goods and animals were kept. When we stayed at the Caravanserai in Kuşadası, transformed into a hotel, we dined in the courtyard. The best part of the experience for me was the two-foot thick stone wall that made our room’s window wells large enough for a small child to sleep in. My imagination has never rested since those nights.


Posted for DVerse Open Link Night, hosted this week by Brian Miller. Join the community.
 
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23 comments:

Kathleen said...

Your life always amazes me!

Mystic Meandering said...

Absolutely beautiful writing! I am seduced by the path you have taken us on as well... Goosebumps... And thank you!

missing moments said...

What a wonderful memory! We are heading to Turkey this summer. I can only hope to have as a wonderful memory as yours!

Brian Miller said...

this is delicious....

I hear spirit through the flutes of my bones...great lines...and love the sounds that follow...

i also really like that in the end nothing else matters...and the intimacy of that scene fingering the fruit in the bowls....well done...

Rubye Jack said...

It must be hard to come back here after Turkey, a courtyard of companionship where nothing else matters.

GailO said...

I would feel warm and safe in that courtyard eating sunrise apricots and drinking hot chai. What a wonderful feeling I got reading these words:)

hedgewitch said...

There is an entire caravan of fine spices, rippling figured silks and grizzled and crafty traders folded up in your poem pack here Ruth--thankfully missing spitting and odoriferous camels, though--I love it, and that you were able to have this experience is so cool--and then share it with us so genuinely that I can absorb the heat off the felt-covered stones. And its very true, the over-riding quality of that bond between like journeys, all sorts making them on the same road for all sorts of reasons. It's sustaining, and a constant education, on the Silk Road or our more mundane cyber highway. So glad you took the caravan through dVerse country.

Kamana said...

you captured so beautifully the wonderful memory

who said...

My favorites fruit's a dried apricot!

You poem sounds so good I don't think a million miles would discourage a would-be traveler,

Although only having to go across the street would mean a lot more things would come a lot more frequently to fruition

The Broad said...

I also love the old stone building with walls over two feet -- this is the case with our house in France, with walls 30 inches thick! Thus the house is cool even on the hottest days and warm on the coldest.

Your description of your Turkish holiday is utterly fascinating.

Maureen said...

Beautiful poem, Ruth, and what a marvelous experience that must have been.

rosaria williams said...

What a delightful read! A bit of enchanted history, a la A Thousand...

Louise Gallagher said...

I am so glad your imagination never rested -- this is beautiful and sings to my wanderers heart.

Charles Miller said...

This is really special, not only for the exotica of the historical details but also for the emotional life with which you invest the landscape. Very charmingly told, with an eye for detail as well as that big picture in which such events unfold.

Peter Olson said...

On of my dreams is to follow the silk road (or one of them) one day. It almost happened once, but my travel partners (a Chinese young lady and her French university tutor) finally couldn't make it.

I met Jeanie and her partner here in Paris the other day and she transmitted your kind greetings! :-)

Amanda said...

this is evocative of travel itself for me. i will have the images of those sunrise apricots in a copper bowl and the window well where your child slept floating in my consciousness for some time...

Grandmother said...

My remembered courtyard was in Italy around a 100 year old olive tree. We also ate apricots, warm from the tree and fresh baked bread with olive oil from the tree that sheltered us. It was a courtyard of companionship with my Honey and my dear sister-in-law. Yes, nothing else matters.

Margaret said...

You breath life into places I know nothing about, make me feel like all I have to do is reach out my hand and a sunrise apricot will be placed into my hand... this is so lovely Ruth, as only you can do!

JeannetteLS said...

"I smell the fust of Turkish
rugs"

I learned a new word. I guessed its meaning correctly, but I had never read it before!

What a wonderful, evocative, delicious poem.

Miss Jane said...

A soul's journey twined with the terrestrial--sensual and fascinating.

Ginnie said...

I have a feeling, Ruth, you have a huge cavern deep within you of Turkish memories, all waiting to spill out in poems like this. You surely could do a book of poems just on Turkey and that entire experience!

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

The idea of a caravanserai, as so richly conveyed in this beautiful poem, is a magic carpet for the imagination and your poem is a feast for the senses, from the tinkling pots, to the music heard through the flutes of your bones, the hands fingering the sunrise apricots, the fust of the Turkish rugs... oh, this is wonderful.

ds said...

...I hear
spirit through the flutes of my bones


Yes, you do. And the sound is beautiful (as are the sights and scents of this rich poem). Thank you.
I'm glad you hooked up with the dVerse folks--it is a right connection.