“Dark Tour” (by Edward Hirsch)

1. Concord

A discordant day
in the library leafing
through an old atlas.

2. Helsinki

My love, let me know
when you find one person in
accord with himself.

3. Copenhagen

In the lion’s den
of our bed, I could not cope
with your rude remark.

4. Stockholm

Epic domestic:
our stock was down and our home
was always mortgaged.

5. Dresden

Compromised city,
lie and lie again on both
banks of the river.

6. Warsaw

Then we sawed away
at the iron pact we made
to stay together.

7. Budapest

No sign of Buddha,
but a history of pest-
ilence and beauty.

8. Delphi

We traveled for days
but the oracle was closed
for the likes of us.

9. Pompeii

As we pompously
quarreled amidst the ruins,
someone stole your purse.

10. Rome

In a Roman bath,
old aroma therapy.
Time for a new age.

11. Madrid

Mad at each other
in a romantic city.
Love got rid of us.

12. Amsterdam

Unlike the city,
we were a dam that broke up
over the Amstel.

13. London

bridge is falling down,
falling down (it was a game)–
and then we fell, too.

14. Prague

Try to remember:
we were still bohemians;
the split was peaceful.

15. Split

Once upon a time,
children, there was a kingdom:
Yugoslavia.

16. Barcelona

Alone in a bar,
I was a Gaudi building
gaudily melting.

17. Paris

Everyone in pairs.
My darkness constellated
the City of Light.

18. Belfast

Let the bells quicken.
We’ve lived through enough troubles
for a few lifetimes.

19. Turin

The fog ascended,
a shroud above the city.
Our dark tour lightened.

20. Bucharest

The accordion
squeezed us together again
in Little Paris.

21. Milan

Books were in style.
Love was in fashion again
You could still read me.

22. Vienna

We felt so lucky
that we crossed all twelve bridges
over the Danube.

23. Athens

Goddess Athena,
we offered an olive branch
and you brought us peace.

24. St. Petersburg

It never darkened.
You shimmied out of your dress
in the gondola.

25. Berlin

Athens on a spree.
The wall collapsed between us.
East coupled with West.

26. Geneva

We reached an accord
and deemed our sex by the lake
“unconventional.”

27. Lucerne

Two things startled me:
the mountains over the lake,
your body at dawn.

28. Corfu

We slept on the sand
where a man and a woman
can be an island.

29. Salzburg

Chords of music, chords
of light in the salt castle.
Unexpected joy.

30. Concord

Sunlight in the trees.
A day in the woods leafing
a fresh concordance.


From Edward Hirch’s book The Living Fire

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