darkest hour before dawn by Terrence Sykes

bucharest 3

darkest hour before dawn
by Terrence Sykes

in a walachian fog
as i wandered grey
narrow streets
bucharest lay before me

dim lamp posts
yielded forth
precious little
to light my path
my unknown way

mercifully the haze softened
seemingly endless blocks of drab
soviet-era block housing
staler than week-old rye

searching & seeking
cobblestoned streets
echoed stillness & silence

my first or last time
merely a returning
from a previous lived life

whitewashed pollarded trees
stood guard over the
dâmbovița embankment
Or was it the jordan
perchance the river styx

unseen waters
gave apparitions
as if the very source
of the rising mist
that blanketed the city

solemn blackness
of the hours before dawn
were at last broken only by dim
lights — unseen clatter

bakers who toiled
to make their daily bread
did they do it in faith
or merely to stave off hunger

shipwrecked upon
unknown sidewalks
this very hunger drove me
forward & onward

for as when I had
thought myself lost
fragrance of bread
would arise — manna
map from heaven

seemingly after
an eternity
forty years
forty nights
or merely
forty minutes

a small café door was left
ajambed by a faithful brick
as if to invite those who
yearned & hungered

unable to speak the language
placing lei coins & paper money
upon the slanting table
i silently blessed
breaking of fast

strong tea for weak senses
for the stomach — warm bread
a field of unknown grains
harvested my thoughts
as I prayed for the
resurrection of the new day

in a walachian fog
as i wandered the grey
narrow streets
bucharest lay before me

IMAGE:  Bucharest, Romania, travel poster. Prints available at displate.com.

NOTE: Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial center. Located in the southeast of the country, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, the city is about 40 miles north of the the Bulgarian border.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: One early morning I woke up too early and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I took a stroll and this poem this dictated itself to me and I starting writing in my notebook as I meandered across the city.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Although Terrence Sykes is a far better gardener-forager-cook . . . his poetry-photography-flash fiction have been published in Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, India,  Mauritius, Pakistan, Scotland, Spain, and the USA . . . he was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of Virginia and this  isolation brings the theme of remembrance to his creations — whether real or imagined.

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