Like lightning the order came,
Voice on high from a din of clouds.

I think I'm leaving.
Bedouin prophet spreading his tent out on the ground,
Train of patient camels eager for the caress of sands.
Leaving for good.
The thought doesn't distress me,
Though I had been biding my time,
Subterranean general spreading maps out on the table,
Another Walter Mitty nursing campaign strategies,
But I have the gifts of grace:
My life's yoke is easy.
My burden is light.
I am the seed of dreams that has cast no roots,
A rover in spirit-realms,
The good-husband without a wife.
I am the silent shadow that steals across the desert,
Dreaming of lush river-valleys and the fevered embraces
Of sleepless, melancholy queens.

A silent bugle is rattling:
"Are you awake?"
The mist over my eyes is a clinging lover,
Lulling me to further supine dreams.
But the bright morning rings out loud,
The gleaming brassy overture of a hundred shining angels
Calling the curtain to rise on the loitering actor.

It's time for another campaign.
My base is fortified,
My duty done here.
My heart is humming like an engine
Waiting for the engagement of axles.
My thoughts are astral travelers
Charting the course of stars in the vast darkness of the heavens,
Lighting in the bedrooms of benighted princesses
And on the towers of kindred wizards.
And yet I cannot say who has scripted this journey,
Nor where I shall finally come to rest.

George Chadderdon © 1999