Sunday, September 5, 2010

Travelling To Spain

Spanish Castle

The Greek Island of Symi

Houseboat on Lake Dal. The boat that was mine was actually much smaller and the land in the background was far steeper too. The garden was barely recognizable as a garden, with the remains of low walls in some spots, all overgrown, but still well kept.

This poem is an actual conversation, recalled and shaped to fit in poesy. Annie and me, we had this talk several times but never got free enough of daily life to actually do it. She had been to Spain in her college days as a nanny to her college history professor’s family. He went to Spain on research each summer. This particular summer was Ann’s turn. She fell in love with Spain and wanted to give me that gift.

For my part, I had been around the world, while spending two years in what is now called Bangladesh. During that stay, I traveled to Kashmir, to the city of Srinagar and to Lake Dal. On that lake, moored in a garden that was planted by Alexander of Macedon, were houseboats for rent. That is where we stayed. It was heaven. Many of the Kashmiri are red haired and blue eyed, with olive skin and wonderful straight noses, a legacy of Alexander and his troops. They are the most handsome people on the planet in my book.

An oddity: there were guest books in the boats. The guest book in ours was signed, George Harrison. Now that’s a common enough name. But I have always wondered. George visited that part of the world for sure. It was the right time frame, 1968. It was a colorful and private place to stay. It seems to me reasonable to keep open the possibility that I stayed in the same boat as George.

Later, on the way back to the States, I flew into Athens, and stayed a couple days in Greece while on the way to Rome and finally Naples, where I was to board a liner to New York. During my Greek visit I got out to one of the Greek isles. It was beyond breathtaking and a completely different swimming experience since there was no bottom or beach really. You swam out ten feet and already the bottom was unreachable because the island was a mountain top with a steep slope. The water was so clear but you couldn’t see the bottom. It just went straight down, pretty much.

Traveling To Spain

You said we would go
to Spain and I said, that’s good.
Then I said we would
go to an island
off Greece, a mountain submerged
in the sea, and then
by air to Kashmir,
well, to India first of course,
all the best places.

July 10, 2009 1:18 PM


  1. What a beautiful morning for a round trip from here to there via you photos...

  2. George was by far my favourite Beatle and a guiding light of my teenage years.

    I went to Symi once, while staying on Rhodes. The long approach to it on the boat made me weep it was so beautiful, and most of the tourist trappings and commerce seemed to consist of old ladies selling herbs and sea-sponges. Magical.

    I love this whole post, poem and all.

  3. Jinsky, Lucy, I am happy to please you both.

  4. A good history behind the poem. I envy you, the places and the times. Great memories….

  5. Anthony,

    And yet it is ever thus, when it was happening I thought about other things. I did know I was in a special position but I was more invested in my hopes than in where I was on the planet.

    I know now that leaning into life like that is seldom productive, especially along the lines of my vision. The overlay of my imbalance is largely beside the point most of the time.

    I came away from that overall experience with a broader vision of the world though. American insularity has appalled me ever since.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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