POETRY FORMAT, 28 Nov 2016

Emanuel E. Garcia – TRANSCEND Media Service

Beggars we were by the looks of it,
Our hosts were gracious making way,
We might have been gods or sly kings
By their offerings, their finest food,
Wine elegantly poured and, best,
Their bristling silence
Once our feet were washed,
Once we had donned their cloaks
And in the centre of the smooth stone floor,
Began our tales

I was as expectant as the crowd
To hear your poetry, see you smooth
Your hair and conjure exploits
Of our days apart –
Were you another’s sentinel,
Another’s song
Among the deep-rooted trees,
The high plains,
Were you a beacon in the snow?

I listened as you raised your lyre,
The landscape of our travels grew again –
How the winds cursed, muffled our resolve,
Carried our plaints, our scents,
And how the canopy flickered
Overhead, no matter what,
Stars crowded or dispersed
To guide, to shed a ghostly
Or a splendid light
Upon the scattered paths

I nodded as you took your seat,
You wouldn’t know about the islands,
Storms, the refuges I found,
Perhaps I should have stayed,
I did my best to tell of the heaving seas
And our reconnaissance,
The audience sat, mesmerised

I relished your new strangeness –
How you ranged and tempted –
Watched you step once more
Into their midst and dare me
With your eyes to join,
To lead them, us into another dream

That night you breathed more fearlessly
In our makeshift bed,
And I, I think that I
Was just as brave

As the horizon glowed
The chants began,
Softly at first, gently rising
As we stole away:
They knew how to confer
On wanderers
The greatest gift


Emanuel E. Garcia is an American-born poet, novelist and physician who resides in New Zealand.  He may be contacted at


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 28 Nov 2016.

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One Response to “Gifts”

  1. Eden Maxwell says:

    Poet Garcia does transcend with multilayered feelings, pathos and ethos, and vivid imagery.

    The poem reminded me of an observation that I included in my book, An Artist Empowered.

    Zorba came upon an old man planting an apricot seedling and asked why he, an old man, was
    planting a new tree.

    ‘I live life as though I would never die,’ was his reply.

    ‘And me, I live as though I might die tomorrow,’ said Zorba, ‘which one of us is right?’

    Nikos Kazantzakis,
    Zorba the Greek