Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Tagore at the Heart Hospital, Lake Balaton, Hungary

Academic journal article Parnassus : Poetry in Review

Tagore at the Heart Hospital, Lake Balaton, Hungary

Article excerpt

The bearded man on the bench gazes lakeward.

Paddleboats colorful as Bengali butterflies churn

the sun-slashed surface to a flickering conversation

with the plane trees on the promenade. Silks shush past,

parasols tilt toward each other as women marvel

at his robes, his swarthiness, his hooked Oriental nose.

This mornings full immersion has left him languid.

Ferriferous waters, carbon bubbles, heat-all meant

to thrill his skin and exhilarate his blood-trouble

his austerity. Heart overburdened, he has come west.

He is kind to the doctors who insist on a cure, glad enough

to doze through sessions in the inhalatorium, suffer

sponge baths and body wraps amid familiar scents of henna

and jasmine, the foreign scents of acacia and autumn olive.

It is 1926. The whole past is a stone lost in the folds of his garment,

the present a wreath of roses laid at his feet. His terrifying eyes,

aflame as though with fireflies, alarm the Hungarians,

whose bent is ever westward. But why must he be cured?

Dreamily, he considers how back home even ordinary

ignoramuses know this world to be a dream. Each day's

karstic waters sting, their fizz like the thousands

of universes created and destroyed each moment. …

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