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.’