the mind and the heart


First Days in San Miguel de Allende
Mary Oliver

The flagellated Christ
is being carried
to San Miguel de Allende
He must be very heavy

yet the carriers persist
upon the sun flashed road
and the people follow

in the same way that people would seek
a river heard of but never yet found.
They are that thirsty.

In the garden the jacaranda
is dropping
its blue festivities

the wren
is carrying sticks
into the hollow
behind the elbow

of the metal horse
that stands
in the bougainvillea
at the edge

of the singing pool.
I have come, for the first time, to Mexico.
And what has happened
to that intense ambition

with which I always awake?
Soaked up
in the colors, stolen
by the bloody Christs

of the churches,
by the children laughing
at my meager Spanish.
It is said

that when you rent a house here
the owners are not responsible
for church bells, barking dogs,
or firecrackers.

It is early in the morning.
Antonio is sweeping the blossoms away.
I am feeling something, incredibly,
like peace.

The wren is busy, my pencil idle.
The silks of the jacaranda, as though
it is the most important work in the world,
keep falling.

The tops of the northbound trains are dangerous.
Still, they are heaped with hopefuls.

I understand their necessity.
Understanding, however, is not sharing.

Oh let there be a wedding of the
mind and the heart, if not today
then soon.

Meanwhile, let me change my own life
into something better.

Meanwhile, on the streets of San Miguel de Allende
it is easy to smile.
“Hola,” I say to the children.
“Hi,” they say, as I pass

with my passport, and money, in my pocket.

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