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lost in clouds

Reading in the cold of the afternoon
I grow sleepy, stand up to get my blood
flowing. Under my window there’s a dune
of snow, a hillock. I have tried acid,
hashish and opium, but none of them
bring me such visions as that half-way state
between our life and death. When the warm phlegm
freezes in my throat, and all my deadweight
pushes upon my heart, then the dreams come.
Then I leave this body, cold as iron,
and fly, as Basho said, like “wild geese lost
in the clouds.”
There is a lovely wisdom
to be found, lost in clouds. When I return
I find my poor body covered in frost.

* * *


The Japanese poet Matsuo Basho wrote the haiku I’m quoting part of. The whole poem reads: “Friends part/ forever — wild geese/ lost in cloud.” Ah, heartache.