THE ROADS TO ROME
I don’t say it’s a long way home
Because I don’t know home exists.
Wandering in forests, confused by mists,
I’ve heard that all roads lead to Rome:
Maybe that legend is a lie
And all roads lead to a silent shore;
But memories of a light, a door
Suggest there was a home, but why
The road to it will always twist
And turn away and run instead
Towards the city of powerful dead
I cannot say, but having missed
No pointing tree or flying crow,
No sudden cold or smear of blood,
No reddening sunset, opening bud,
Maybe I’ve found the home I know.
But carving on a rotten log
Tells of an easy way to rest
While still the broken branch points west
Over the river blurred in fog.
This poem can be interpreted in different ways, but let me rule out one: it isn’t about a Catholic conversion! It is about a sense of a meaningful journey and a home to return to, interpreted in different ways, about doubt and death (all roads lead to a silent shore) and about diversions from the way, characterised by a material Rome of wealth and power. I would rate this as one of my four or five favourite poems I’ve written, along with the next one I’m going to post.