How Far?

How Far?

How far is it to Carcassonne?
I'll stir the dust until
I reach that glittering place I crave,
Heat-haunted citadel.

You were away before us,
With something on your mind,
Reckless of all horizon
And all you left behind.

Your friends of the cold morning,
The friends you lived among,
Who worked with you, and fished with you
They heard you sing this song:

'How far is it to Carcassonne?
How difficult to find?
The years run on and on and on
Like waves upon the mind.'

How far is it to Carcassonne?
We sat at night alone.
I knew my heart was full enough.
The sea and shore were one.

You looked away. I heard you say:
'I'm going to Carcassonne.
My weary feet are stoutly shod,
My shoes are full of blood and bone
And while I have my breath, by God,
I'll go to Carcassonne.'

How far is it to Carcassonne?
How difficult to find?
The years run on and on and on
And I am left behind.

Although I do not see an end,
I do not have the patience left
To face blank stares with smiles,
For I shall soon be gone.

The skies are rent, the rock is cleft,
And we shall soon be dead.
How far is it to Carcassonne?
How far is it, how far?

How far is it to Carcassonne?
No trace of you is there,
Nor anywhere upon this road I tread,
Nor anywhere, nor anywhere.


from Song and Dance (Chatto & Windus, 2008), © John Fuller 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher.