Poetry at the Post: Walking in Oaxaca with Thomas Traherne

Walking
BY THOMAS TRAHERNE (1636-1674)

To walk abroad is, not with eyes,
But thoughts, the fields to see and prize;
Else may the silent feet,
Like logs of wood,
Move up and down, and see no good
Nor joy nor glory meet.

 

Lake at Santo Domingo Tamoltepec March 2015
Lake at Santo Domingo Tamoltepec
March 2015

 

I woke up yesterday and felt the need for a poem—a poem to accompany me on a hike in the hills of Oaxaca, Mexico.  There is a poem for every occasion, mood or opportunity. It’s true. If you seek it, you will find it as I did with Traherne’s “Walking,”  with its opening line of  “To walk abroad is, not with eyes, But thoughts…”

Stained glass  at Hereford Cathedral   Thomas Traherne window by Tomm Denny and installed in 2007. photo credit: Pam Fray CC by SA 2.0
Stained glass at Hereford Cathedral
Thomas Traherne window by Tomm Denny and installed in 2007.
photo credit: Pam Fray CC by SA 2.0

 

Little is known of Thomas Traherne, an English poet, clergyman and theologian. Not a well-established poet of his time, he is almost “wholly a discovery of twentieth century scholarship” after one of his manuscripts was accidentally found in a London bookstall in the late 19th century.

hike#4

Although I am not a big fan of metaphysical poetics, “Walking” was the perfect text to contemplate on the trails of Santo Domingo Tamoltepec.

While in those pleasant paths we talk,
’Tis that tow’rds which at last we walk;
For we may by degrees
Wisely proceed
Pleasures of love and praise to heed,
From viewing herbs and trees.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s