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Transit Zone by Martin Burke     < back : index >   

B r u g g e


The city calls, the city calls, the city calls to you.
Streets/narrow streets, interweaving canals
Time and the various waters a mesh of many mandalas
From which you may choose an entrance but not an exit
As the waters flow with all the names of history.
You are who you need to be in this specific time, this specific place
Your mind bedazzled, your eyes astounded
As beauty, working its wonders
The way the water works into the clefs of the mind,
Gives you a new name, a purpose, a destination
While remaining its own destination, its own purpose
In a mesh you must untangle then re-knit to workable forms.
So who are you now that you have never been before?
Is the song you know of the city the same song the city knows of you?
Who would not be lost in this bright bewilderment
When even the shadows have identities?

In the many clefs the many origins you may choose from
Yet all beginnings form the one story.
You are who you are regardless of who you have been.
You are also a mesh that must be re-knit to the city.

Sunlight on a copper roof oxided now to Lorca’s green.
In the street of the pilgrim feeling the unmistakable kinship with history.
All origins are intersections with time and history.
This one begins, that one begins, both have the same destination.


What are the fidelities?
They are the many selves that you have been
The many selves that you will yet be.
Origins – the one, the many
The clefs responding to impulse and implication
To the sunlight on the many squares
To the narrow streets that might be Jerusalem but which are specific to Brugge;
Desire, possibilities, the chances you must take
There is no other possibility.

If you are Dante’s child are you so of the Inferno or Paradiso?
Answer now, answer well, the city knows the choices you will make
Usher into the kingdom of names that name which is yours alone to give.
Gulls casting shadows on water and the redemption of shadows by sunlight -
So, the deepest name of the city –a secret or a mystery?
What is the verb for which there is no negation?
Into the all-consuming light make your confession of praise.

Words drift upon the lightsome air.
Beauty the verb for which there is no negation.
Somewhere a bird, the bright-spattered bird, sings.
What history awaits me on that bridge?
What lives will I enter into?
Swans on the water –three swans
The fidelity of seven linden tress
The water shuddering with a sudden shudder of history
The fidelity of the mind regardless of however many betrayals.
City, city and history, alpha location.
A sudden shudder - yet no ice-wind disturbs the mind
A sudden shudder - it is water paying court to itself.
Alpha - as it was in the beginning.
Meanwhile the swans – so now what name will you utter?
The mesh unravelling then re-knitting in the mind.
Unwind, unwind, all is a golden thread.
The weight of love upon the mind is the atoms’ weight of love upon the heart.


The dimensions of the city you see are the dimensions of the mind you see with.
There are maps for this – they are the maps of the mind
Though there are maps for which there are no locations.
The opposite of this is equally true.
Again the linden trees – again the swans
What is the name the city utters to itself?
Where is the mandalas’ centre?
There where you are – there where you are – you are where the centre is.
Sacred name, sacred name, utter the city’s’ sacred name.
Answer the waters’ call.
Utter, answer the name in your mind , utter the waters’ deepest flow.
The mind is no less than the song it sings.
Entrances – yes, but which one, which one? And exit an exile?
Sunlight –a verb or a noun? A verb – decidedly a verb.
The sunlight atones the darkness – how much more the pleasing shadows.
The bright bewilderment of the mind at the many correspondences.
Verbs – verbs of light – darkling shades I walk amidst.
Three towers in the sunlight – who could ask for more?
After the shudder the sudden silence of water
After the silence the striking of the town clock.
Music – music and silence – prologue to the rapture?
I am nothing if not that which I desire.
Flanders that could be Ithaca or/and Jerusalem but is always Flanders
Time and water, time, city and water.
In this is the beginning.


Beginning? Destination as destiny?
I walk towards all beginnings so who is the one who walks towards me?
There is none other than what the city is and gives in forms and outlines
In the maze is the mandalas’ core.
What is the language of darkness and light which the one gives to the other?
The self as intricate as any maze is.
Ithaca of the mind? The mind has many Ithaca’s.
Cross one bridge – cross another – what have you left behind you?
Cross a bridge – meet yourself in your future.
Cross a bridge again – you are what you have become.
The water calls, the water calls, the water calls to you.
A shadow envelops a shadow enveloping a shadow.
The soul is the lightest weight to carry.
Two statues in an embrace – the stones have come alive!
Who dreamt we would make this adoration of word and world?
Who dreamt we would pay homage at these stations?
Shadow and water compose the words I use
I have no words other than shadow and water.
After the alphabets of damnation the alphabets of salvation.
Statue after statue – craftsmen and archangel.
So what nets will you cast into these waters my disbelieving one?
The street of the pilgrims, the street of the sailors, the street with many flags.
The city merging into the sable dream of itself (this could be the butterfly of the Tao).
Now all the cities come to my city - all harbours are Ithaca – all harbours are home.
Three children, three swans - an epic of transformations.
The arch of the bridge uniting what it separates
Where by such blessed waters….
The renditions of summer and the affirmations of autumn.
Bells in the offing.
Change – change again – the heart leaps the measured arch of spring.


Church bells nearer now (and in this my destination?)
As they were that night a giant question mark was projected onto the tower
Such things – this much and more than this.
A bicycle tilted again wrought iron railings – a mesh of spokes and wheels.
Yes, apples and grains – the mind has not forgotten them.
Will I rest at the jetty with the boats of enticing names?
I am nothing if not these things. I am nothing else.
Beauty, always beauty.
By the prayer uttered in silence for the grace of apples and water.
The oils with which I anoint myself priest of this moment.
Boats at the jetty - and what are your destinations my sailors?
In what dark and light does your journey begin?
Words in a weave about the towers.
Gratitude and a bestowed grace.
I say what I have said – I will say it again -
Tower, lake, lane, sunlight, shadow, word – the world is composed of nothing else.
I have this song and need nothing else.
All is grace – is vivid love – a lyric of the possible.
Sunlight, birds, and bells, sunlight on the texture of water, wood, and stone
As if the world began here, as if there was no other place on which it shone.
The word flooding the world - audible word, visible world.
The responsive modulations of the heart.
Tower song, water song, swans on the lake, the song of three children
The heart responding – the mouth replying with this lyric:
Brugge in its beauty of the fashioning word upon the waters of the world
Transit zone of the mind for all its longing
Spoken, written, sung, and loved by the one who is your lover.


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