And now the distance seems to grow
Between myself and what I know:

It is from a strange land I speak
And a far stranger that I seek.

A heron rises under my nose
And into the flat distance goes.

The thoughts that follow her grow less
And vanish into emptiness.

But I am I and I stay here:
Who and where I am is not clear.

And if I spoke, as I must not,
World that encircles me, then what?

No-one could find me, no-one say
On what sad drove my journey lay;

From where to where, which makes the who,
Cannot be visible to you,

For I, here walking, can declare
What lies beyond this open air.

Beyond all touch the cities lie
In which so many gasp and die

And make the words which seem to run
From mouth to mouth, as once my own,

Yet what runs with them is no more
Than I well know has run before;

So I resign me to this space
Which neither knows a human face

Nor mine, and where no answer is.
If one should ask, the answer dies.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 8 Number 3, on page 46
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