Farewell to Ithaca

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Itís been five years, and still I do not know
The names of all the birds that sing outside
My open window. Grasses scatter wide:
It might not be too late for them to grow.

Before youíve spent a summer here, they say,
You do not know this place at all. I know
The footsteps I have left in all your snow,
Your endless winters and your golden May.

Farewell then stranger whose ways I believe
I might in time have learned to think were kind.
Tonight youíre Paradise as I start to leave.
Are you still trying to make me change my mind?
You have been pain but also a reprieve.
I love you most when leaving you behind.

Harmke van Dijk

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Harmke van Dijk  would be pleased to hear them.