Still Water Prose Poems

Copyright @ 1989 by Arthur Garfunkel
ISBN 0-525-24795-5
Used by persmission of Author - All Rights Reserved

38

         Perhaps it's personality I've lost. Maybe in "works and
plays well with others" I never earned my "s" (show me an
Arthur who did). Not unlike Rimbaud I tend to go my own
invented way, beyond fame. I live in soliloquy and I don't mind
the wolf in me, nor all this rugged barren beauty 'round my
shoulders, as I ride alone.
 
        It is the eve of September, August thirty-first, that clear-
est cusp of the calendar. Autumn has begun in the Hebrides.
The day has come to the end.

       Nineteen hundred eighty-four kilometers of two-lane
blacktop have passed from the rue du Faubourg St. Honoré,
through the Bois de Boulogne, la porte de St. Cloud, Argen-
teuil, up the Seine, Veteuil, Rouen 'n onward west across
Normandie, always in sunshine—Repentigny—kick into fifth
to the ferry at St. Malo—then the Anglo-Saxon section com-
mences: Southampton to Soho Square. (I interrupt to go to
London on a train, to the art department at CBS, to Intour-
ist…) Back to the bike and south and the centerline, past
Stonehenge, through the Cotswolds to Leeds, we weave
around the spine of England's midlands to Northumberland in
summer wind, and over the border to Scotland…there's no
one in this country, pathetic little road, purple mountains
heather and brown follow me down to the motorway to
Glasgow—town of Scrooge and Marley buildings—built
around the Eighties, empty since the Sixties, downtown
Stonehenge, train station space that great place, I sit in the
sunlit morning among men who don't work, with the Firth
beside, birds gossip in the gleaming of the Clyde…and I am
reading Edmund Wilson, listing north-northwest and dream-
ing beyond Lochs Lomond and Ness, over glenned loveliness
to the serious beauty of the highlands. The clouds and I are
attracted and held in thrall. It rains. Fall weather emerges at
Invergarry and in reply we ride to the Atlantic on a ferry from
the mainland to the Isle of Skye; keen is the air and keen the eye
of the Scots; I write lots of postcards in a Portree laundromat
and clean in the rain and then today, when with herring gulls
we ferry to the Hebrides, sixteen minutes of one degree
increase in latitude—platitudes, and how she doesn't talk to
me—land in the minority, Uig to Tarbert, tarn island across
the Little Minch. As Skye fades into water, its final fields in
silhouette climb north-northwest to cliffy falls.

        And I have come to Stornoway, 1984 away from Paris.
Across the Isle of Lewis, and from its leeward side, I ride alone
to the sea at last. Under a shelf of risen rain the northwest
sun emerges and slips slowly on its way to set. Chastened
and enchanted and forgiven again, a silhouette is slowly rising
into it.

Stornoway, ScotlandJuly 1984