Wherever I go my footsteps echo in ‘Akka.
I amble on these streets to my content
and have no plan,
walking itself is my purpose and joy
under a sky I recognise as Haifa blue.
It is windless, cloudless, April’s end
and I walk knowing these streets to be
the good geographies.
Destination alters and is arrived at
with each step
only the blue is constant.
Though my walking’s barely begun
I’m at my ease.
These streets please me with their mix
of here and there.
This I recognise, but not as destination -
that would be east of ‘Akka
in a garden with a shrine
and so, wherever I go,
my footsteps echo there.
Then Haifa is preparatory to there
or place in itself I amble towards
with walking as my purpose and joy?
The windless air
the cloudless sky
reflect and are expressive of my needs;
Haifa proves, as ‘Akka proves, itself to be
the good geography.
Thus I amble streets which please me,
wherever I am is where I should be
as my footsteps echo in ‘Akka.
Let these streets,
let these typical streets of a medieval town
insist it is Gent,
let the spires insist on the here and now
that this is the station and state of the world
yet it is and is not so,
is a partial appraisal of the whole
an incomplete assessment of the day,
for I cross a square webbed in a shadow play
of dark and light and I am there
as these streets merge into its vexed lanes
and its forms assume their shadows here;
for plan or no plan
intentional or the moment’s drift
my footsteps always echo there-
it being the place to which I incline
the gravity to which I accede,
the more so under a Haifa sky
this April’s end in Gent.

These are the good geographies.
Wherever I am is where I should be.
Wherever I go my footsteps echo in ‘Akka.

Martin Burke

If you have any comments on this poem Martin Burke would like to hear
from you: matin.burke@pandora.be

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