The seeming definition of a ghost, someone there and not there–reflection in a shop window shading in a blurred face and dark suit through which paintings and photographs may be seen or not paintings and not photographs because it’s not that easy to say, and other blurred faces and clothes passing by and passing into and out of brick and stone, and of course a potted plant. Am I really here? Was I once somewhere else?
Walk down into the earth and trains speed underground and above ground, all of us gathering like shades waiting for the ferryman, except here one goes back and forth between what is below and what is found in the sky.
Dreams of styles, epochs, historical time periods sit right down next to each other, fusing with each other, becoming what they are and something other, and all the while toy cranes lift and place the new–scaffolding creeping like veins up the old.
Then a stretch of sidewalk and street, shops offering and promising, and so many of us walking to and fro, on the way somewhere or nowhere. Like Alice to the Cat, as long as we get somewhere.
Dark trunks and bare branches stretch arms and fingers above the passersby, a constant reminder of an older, more arabesque and graceful building that has been going on and will go on over and past squat glowing doorways and facades long after streets quiet into the uncrossed, the unwalked, and the unseen.
A turn round a corner and a square stretches out, opening its hand to such a great width of space that we hurry to fill it with something, anything, say bikes, street lamps, awnings lifting their lips over chairs and tables, walkers looking at the clouds before them, the cobblestones below.
Of course the point of balustrades and balconies, roofs and cupolas is to lead our organized eyes up to the blue with its tempting lack of any window or ledge, arch or gargoyle so we grow dizzy daydreaming a great floating escape into heaven, until down to business we tilt to a glowing light changing color and then tilt further down to white stripes leading us to the somewhere we were going all along. A walk into April by W.S. Merwin.
When we have gone the stone will stop singing
Sinks through the sand of names
Days to come
With no stars hidden in them
You that can wait being there
You that lose nothing