Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No Escape, Part Eight: "No Traveller Tells Of It, However Far He Has Been"

The search for the Ideal Place is, at bottom, a search for Home (whatever that is).  Being of a melancholy turn of mind, Edward Thomas was wont to express a longing for a missing "home" or "land" that seemed always out of reach.  But, because he was a wise and a sensitive man, Thomas knew that he was kidding himself.  The Ideal Place -- the Home we long for -- is a chimera.  And the old saw (traceable to Socrates via Montaigne) beckons:  "wherever you go, there you are."


Not the end: but there's nothing more.
Sweet Summer and Winter rude
I have loved, and friendship and love,
The crowd and solitude:

But I know them: I weary not;
But all that they mean I know.
I would go back again home
Now.  Yet how should I go?

This is my grief.  That land,
My home, I have never seen;
No traveller tells of it,
However far he has been.

And could I discover it,
I fear my happiness there,
Or my pain, might be dreams of return
Here, to these things that were.

Remembering ills, though slight
Yet irremediable,
Brings a worse, an impurer pang
Than remembering what was well.

No: I cannot go back,
And would not if I could.
Until blindness come, I must wait
And blink at what is not good.

                                 Richard Eurich, "Seabound" (1984)


zmkc said...

Chimera is one of my favourite words, not that I get a chance to use it in daily conversation very often

Stephen Pentz said...

I like the fact that it has evolved from a mythological beast into our current usage. As always, thanks for looking in, zmkc.