Every Step a Thought of You: Poems from my Travels in China

Two months ago I spent 31 days backpacking China. I didn’t write much on my adventure, but here’s what  I did.

A Sun Kissed Phoenix From Dali

She stood in the aisle,
Sun kissed through the windows of the train,
Like Zhou Yu’s ghost.
She stood as though
She wanted my eyes upon her,
She smiled as though
She knew they were.
She looked left and right and back
But she wouldn’t look my way.
All I wanted was a second
And now she’s gone forever,
Leaving me haunted and hungry
For even just the briefest glance
Into her dark Yunnan eyes.


Ten thousand steps to the top of Mount Hua,
Every step a thought of you.


Two mopeds, unattended in the empty field
As the copper sun slides behind rocky peaks.
Two lovers, embrace each other in secret
Hidden beneath the orchard trees.


That melody, those words
Resounding through this foreign land.
Ten thousand miles away
Racing through rice paddies
And early morning fog –
Dark red sun rising
In the distant city smog.
Ten thousand miles away
And yet you’re here now
Present and real in my mind
Like Byron’s muse before me
Clouding my tired and weary thoughts.


Every night
It snows on Jade Dragon Mountain
But every day
The sun steals it away.

And so it goes with my dreams


I want you to stick
The paper cuttings of my heart
To the windows of your home.
I want to drink the monsoon
While you lay in my arms
Under the red rain silhouettes of my love.


I spent two days
Breathing dust the color of your skin
And striving through a summer sun
As fiery as your presence
Beating my head dizzy.
Consuming the mountain landscapes,
Which taunt me with their beauty,
Landscapes as difficult to reach
As the landscapes of your body.

Lord Byron – Stanzas To The Po

Stanzas To The Po

River, that rollest by the ancient walls,
Where dwells the lady of my love, when she
Walks by thy brink, and there perchance recalls
A faint and fleeting memory of me;

What if thy deep and ample stream should be
A mirror of my heart, where she may read
The thousand thoughts I now betray to thee,
Wild as thy wave, and headlong as thy speed!

What do I say -a mirror of my heart?
Are not thy waters sweeping, dark, and strong?
Such as my feelings were and are, thou art;
And such as thou art were my passions long.

Time may have somewhat tamed them, -not for ever;
Thou overflow’st thy banks, and not for aye
The bosom overboils, congenial river!
Thy floods subside, and mine have sunk away.

But left long wrecks behind, and now again,
Born in our old unchanged career, we move;
Thou tendest wildly onwards to the main,
And I -to loving one I should not love.

The current I behold will sweep beneath
Her native walls and murmur at her feet;
Her eyes will look on thee, when she shall breathe
The twilight air, unharmed by summer’s heat.

She will look on thee, -I have looked on thee,
Full of that thought; and, from that moment, ne’er
Thy waters could I dream of, name, or see,
Without the inseparable sigh for her!

Her bright eyes will be imaged in thy stream, –
Yes! they will meet the wave I gaze on now:
Mine cannot witness, even in a dream,
That happy wave repass me in its flow!

The wave that bears my tears returns no more:
Will she return by whom that wave shall sweep?
Both tread thy banks, both wander on thy shore,
I by thy source, she by the dark-blue deep.

But that which keepeth us apart is not
Distance, nor depth of wave, nor space of earth,
But the distraction of a various lot,
As various as the climates of our birth.

A stranger loves the lady of the land,
Born far beyond the mountains, but his blood
Is all meridian, as if never fanned
By the black wind that chills the polar flood.

My blood is all meridian; were it not,
I had not left my clime, nor should I be,
In spite of tortures, ne’er to be forgot,
A slave again of love, -at least of thee.

‘Tis vain to struggle -let me perish young –
Live as I lived, and love as I have loved;
To dust if I return, from dust I sprung,
And then, at least, my heart can ne’er be moved.

Lord George Gordon Byron

Music That Moves You #6

Some of my favorite tunes as of late. As always – LISTEN TO IT LOUD

Shapeless – Wild Cub

Open – Rhye

Drive – Wild Cub

MTN Tune – Trails and Ways

What I Might Do (Kilter Remix) – Ben Pearce

A Variation on Scotty Tails Madelain – Shigeru Umebayashi

My Shadow Of Eden

Which do I long for more?
Which do I want to hear,
Standing in the woods alone,
The music of man,
Or the music of nature?

I know not.
I thank God for music all the same,
And I long for you, my love,
To hear, to see, to feel,
What I, in this moment, do.

To know, more than ever,
What Eden might have been,
To see what Adam might have seen,
To experience a shadow,
Of how Adam might have known God.

These trees,
Are the trees of life.
This river,
Water for my soul.
And you… You are my Eve.

I wish you were here,
To walk with me,
To talk with me,
And I wish I could embrace you,
The way these woods are embracing me.

All Photos Belong To Dean Marais