The Falconer

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Sometimes Faith or a belief system is rather too complex and personalized to share openly with. (or, leastways, would take up too much time of the one brave enough to lend an ear). But as time goes by, I am more and more inclined to speak my heart in the best way I know how.

The Falconer (by Gino Vannelli)

At the edge of the world, on the path of return,
Where the sands of time score the soul and burn
The flesh, I heard the toll of a distant bell
That led me to a stranger standing by a well.
Man or mirage, in the storm, who can say
What I chanced upon along the Great Way.
In robes of white linen that swept the hot floor
And eyes that flashed through the cracked door
Of a flaxen scarf wrapped around his face,
Through the pillars of dust, I could trace
The hand of an old man pulling twine, bound
To a vessel rising from the underground.
He tipped the clay jug and cooled my tongue
And gave me shade from the midday sun.
‘Traveler’, he said, ‘would you amuse an old man
And say what brings you to such a forbidding land?
I have traveled these reaches all my days
The number of their hostile ways
Are known to me, so I might be of more good to you
In knowing where it is you’re going to.’
But I was loath to say what was best left unsaid,
As he gathered his robe and daubed my forehead;
Where on one hand I saw a strong skin glove
Thick, timeworn and scarred rough.
‘A gauntlet,’ he said, ‘a falconer’s mit.
I have let him loose to roam the sky, while I sit
Patiently awaiting the winds to bring
My falcon homeward to this desert spring.
In these wilds, where earth touches sky,
The margins vague to even a falcon’s eye,
A sounding of the bell through blowing sand
Will guide him safely back to my right hand.’
(Gatekeepers, godlings, wraiths from hell,
And now an ancient falconer—who can tell
What mysteries greet the soul
Along the journey to its final goal.)
My thirst quenched and a moment’s rest,
Eager to press on with my quest,
I rose to my feet from the desert sand.
Dusting myself, I thanked the old man
And said, ‘Well then, kind stranger, it’s time
I continue with my long, hard climb
Over the dunes and on to higher ground
Before the cold, black night comes around.’
‘Pray,’ said the falconer, ‘before you go,
Do tell me more about the star that you follow,
So that I may help you find your way
To where it is that you’re unwilling to say.’
An old man in the desert, waiting for a bird,
What harm could come? And so I answered:
‘I seek a world beyond shadow and light
Whatsoever made the sun to burn bright.
While others sow gardens in the illusory mist
I seek the hand that made the gardens to exist.
Of what good are the objects of my desire
When they are doomed to ashes in life’s eternal fire?
I forgo all that is wondrous to the naked eye.
How many times must a man live and die
Before he turns to that which gives birth
To the very things he reckons of greatest worth?
Old man, I have come to a long journey’s end
And now it is time I go where all souls are destined.’
And with that I saw that his eyes narrowed and smiled,
As he drew me into his arms like a lost child.
Happiness welling in his long, deep gaze,
Wherein lay the sum of all my living and dying days.
Something forgotten hidden from sight
Suddenly rose and came to light,
As the falconer slackened the scarf from his face.
My limbs trembling, my heart pounding apace,
At last, I cried, ‘Yes. . .yes. . .you I know
We were as one, a very long time ago!
But you cut my tether and let me fly
And for the longest time I took to the sky,
My heart and my mind weather-blown
Forgetful of the hand from which I had flown
Till at last I see by all my trials and tears,
After the pilgrimage of a thousand years,
It is you, all along, for which my heart has yearned!’
Whereupon the Falconer declared, ‘my falcon has returned.’

16 Comments on “The Falconer”

  1. Thankyou for sharing this with us again Gino.
    I think you wrote this at a point of great emotional pain.
    There are times that each of us reach a point that we think we cannot deal with any more pain, and that we just want it to be over. I hope you are not at that point right now.
    If you are, please hold on to the knowledge that you are loved by so many, and that your contribution of beauty in our lives is so valuable to all of your fans.
    We all love you and send comfort and peace to you.
    Hollis Ehman

  2. I am 55 now and have listened and appreciated Gino and his brother’s music. They write and sing from their souls and hearts. Delights to my own soul and heart.

  3. Gino: I took my dogs for a walk a couple of hours ago, and there was a falcon sitting atop an electric pole, just watching us walking through the trees and occasionally making that characteristic falcon cry/shriek. I stopped to watch it, and as I watched, it took off and floated on the thermals…so effortlessly. Then, I came home and was listening to some of your music…I had seen you on Glenn Beck’s radio program yesterday. I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that while listening to your music today, I “Google-stalked” you for a bit (sorry), and I found your website with the above verse. I so appreciate your depth, not only the depth to your voice, but the depth to your soul. It was a wonderful, serendipitous moment to see the above verse after having seen the falcon just a short time before. Best, Joy

    1. Well said, Joy. What an experience you had! I just saw Gino Vanelli perform a few months ago in Niagara Falls ~ it was euphoric .. hahah! I don’t know where you live ~ but you might be near somewhere that he will be touring to. He’s on Facebook and his own website..

  4. I love what you wrote. My interpretation is that maybe for a long time you felt disconnected, but you were seeking God and finally found him. How awesome. I would love to know the real meaning.

  5. Gino,
    This spoke to me today, and I am forever grateful…
    I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we’ve all either been there, are there, or soon will be.
    God bless you!
    Jonathon Willis

  6. Mr. Vannelli,
    Yesterday I tried to reference your name to purchase you latest cd only to have the young sales clerk say “he’d never heard of you”. Needless to say I felt sorry for him. Because I am now 53 and I remember how the lyrics spoke to my heart both then and now. And I want to thank you for sharing what part of yourself benefited not only myself during dark soul-searching times but others who also prayerfully have found their way back to the joy of life and love.

  7. Gino,
    I am so happy you are reaching these levels of peace along your journey. While only 20+ years into mine, I’m finding the revelations / comprehensions to be as freeing as they are, at times, overwhelming. Either way, I am so enjoying the views.
    All the very best!

  8. Really provocative and elusive… every time I thought I was guessing your thoughts and motives.. you made another turn. Part of what makes your music mysterious and layered. I was supposed to go to your concert in Niagara tonight,~ ticket wouldn’t print on my computer .. but .. maybe tomorrow.. or Montreal in April 2015.
    When I think about that night in Montreal .. maybe, just maybe. \(~_~

  9. This is a most touching poem. I love the meaning and the way in which you describe your experience. So beautiful.
    I have been a fan all these years, and your music has grown and your voice is better than ever. Keep it up!! Love the
    family pictures. Your wife is so beautiful. Blessings.

  10. So many beautiful layers of emotion in this poem. Thank you, Gino, for touching my soul today.

  11. Thank you do much for your beautiful. Words. I have often wondered about your feelings about God in your like yet you always seem to. Have he in your songs. I 2 have been. Very lost in my like and trying. 2 find. I guess you might saw. What you seem 2 have found for you self. Thank you again for sharing. With us again. All of us

  12. You words are so eloquent and deep with thought. To get the most out of what is written you have to read the work(s) more than twice. There was a very dark period in my life that many things were going on and I, too, was in a dark forest and could not see out. I stayed the course and came out forged as a piece of steel to continue on in my life. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

  13. Thankful you share your gifts with us…I read your lyrics and blog posts (again) from time to time and always leave me with a new and deeper perspective. The new perspectives help me grow as a person.
    You never cease to amaze me. In my 62 years of life, I have not run across a more intelligent and thoughtful man as you.

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