Letters To Solaris (Suite)
Closing the set with a salute to Pozega, as I always do;
Casual listeners always assume I am tying a Celtic knot;
Trick of the trade, a one man dirge rarely sings blue.
I know why I do this; as to when it started, I forgot.
Pace of the show, like this floating stage, is ever steady;
On this river boat, performing as a travelling minstrel;
I sing every night, and for good measure, a Saturday matinee,
On the deck stage below of this good boat, The Southern Belle.
We came to dock when we reached our desired destination;
Passengers stepped off to walk the streets of New Orleans.
I sat on a deck chair, in the open air, my preferred station;
Soon joined by McGinnis, veteran of The Merchant Marines.
Captain Green soon followed, offered up a round, to toast,
"To the best guitar man, the deck hand, and to me, of course,
Another successful bayou venture, not one passenger was lost."
Then he said to me, "Let us sing your song of remorse."
McGinnis concurred. "We will own this dirge tonight.
You know, since first I heard it, n'er a day it leaves."
If practice might make perfect, perhaps he'd be right.
There is just something about a lament that grieves...
Letters To Solaris
To My Dearest One, (as any worthy epistle may commence),
You have weighed heavy on my heart and mind this day.
As though a stage was constructed, lights put in place, since
that night, in a dream... I caught visage of a Nightingale.
I awoke to a sense of calm, along with the sound of your name,
Though there was not a voice in the room, save for my own.
I wondered if you'd channeled me, or the bird; all the same.
When I set my mind to reason, I realized, the bird had flown.
Did I ever tell you of the time I conceived, mapped a quest?
I wrote it in detail: Solaris to the Sun, Marina to the Sea.
I envisioned a homecoming of sorts, with me as welcomed guest.
It really was an impressive sight, it was: my map and key.
Can you imagine me, firmly at the helm of a paddle boat wheel,
Atlantic winds at my back, passing through Strait of Gibralter?
Gliding stealth across the Mediterranean, in my delta vessel,
Turning north to The Strait of Otranto, on a wing and a prayer.
Dubrovnik to the south, Pula to the north, The Adriatic Sea
Splashing salt, in the paddle wheel spray, coating the hull;
Might I find you waiting in Porec, taking pictures of me?
Oh, I love to imagine this as real, being destiny fulfilled.
I recall the tale, of the one legged man who played a tune,
His gait, out of step, but his bagpipes never missed a beat.
I wrote of him to you, on the night of his downtown commune.
I sent it in September of o'nine, the encounter complete.
I have written you often, in detail, over the span of years;
Those letters, unlike the initial, stacked neatly in a chest.
Fearing I'll over state, I choose, recluse among Volunteers
This letter will now come to close, and go resign, with the rest.
Letters dated and addressed, but never released from sender;
To some, might be counted as written in vain, content lost;
But, there are those who understand what the heart may render,
Counting only heart's intent, content to overlook the cost.
Solaris to the Sun, Marina to the Sea, Nightingale on the wing,
Speak to me, in a language only she and I will comprehend.
Content to live out my days, on a wing and a prayer, to bring;
And if ever proclaimed in a dream, I'll have letters to send.
They sat there in silence, their private performance concluded;
Harmonies never more cohesive, perfect time to get it right.
Three grown men, not a dry eye among them, as lyrics colluded,
Captain Green raised a toast, "To Miss Solaris, and to the night."
Without a breeze, the song may have rung clear to Black Bay.
There was wind current, and on it, their song found a destination.
In The Big Easy, at Windsor Court, was heard at a window bay,
By a casual tourist. Velimir was troubled by great causation.
Not the first time, but more so now than ever, he heard a home call.
Three decades prior, he fled, walked away from his former life.
What was, was not; Yugoslavia had fragmented, rather than fall.
He made a good call, coming to America, avoided impending strife.
He shook it off, this allusion apparent, as he took to sleep.
His slumber, however, was interrupted by, perhaps, an illusion.
It was not, but was, this apparition, his own ghost to keep.
It was a girl, standing on a bridge, she, a welcome intrusion.
She presented a picture, him standing before a red bridge, deck arch;
He knew this to be The Meslenica Bridge, a new and modern span.
If he knew, he'd forgotten the old one succumbed to a demarche;
In his kip, he committed this to memory, as though part of a plan.
He stirred, whispered, "Solaris to the Sun, Marina to the Sea."
He awoke, assuming it was middle of night, but sun shone bright.
Called his office, out of pocket, there was a place he had to be,
Then he called the air line, in order to alter his scheduled flight.
Two days later, his plane landed at Pleso Airport; upon arrival,
Velimir realized there'd be no greeting party to offer a welcome.
Knowing not if he was there to bury the past or invoke a revival,
Standing in Zagreb, now more than ever, Croatia felt like home.
Michael Todd (2013)
Written for, and dedicated to Marina Stankovic