Thumbs of Green

Once upon a Saturday,
Near the Dover Cliffs in May,
Sat a girl with hopes and dreams,
Squinting at the sun's bright beams,

On her head rested a cap,
Bought from Coach by some old sap,
Seven years since they last united,
In the ballroom they were sighted,

Her brown eyes sparkled in the sun,
Memory re-runs now begun.
With hand placed on a ream of paper,
From the vista she wouldn't taper.

Oh, how many days it's been,
Since she committed one grave sin,
To leave the family she loved behind,
Without a warning in her mind.

Adventure, yes, that plague had called her...
Swayed from education, drawn from the alter...
Free is what she wished to be,
And now she was alone as she watched the sea.

Where'd she gone? What'd she seen?
That's a question most obscene,
For what mortal ventures she had taken,
Left her soul never forsaken.

Colors, people, places galore,
The world she invaded brought her more.
One step beyond the threshold she knew,
Scattered her wherever the wind blew.

She learned how children danced to silence,
Despite the heavy, screaming sirens,
She saw pianos in basements where,
The whole neighborhood sought salvage there.

Countries in South Asia flooded her mind,
Smells of saffron, wheat to grind,
North, though colder as she travelled,
Love through kisses were unraveled.

To the East was the land of the oriental:
To be destitute was not detrimental.
So many cultures, so well-versed:
Kindness, wisdom, all rehearsed.

Down to Africa! Zimbabwe! Ethiopia! Everything in between!
There's jungle, there's desert, Lake Victoria, so serene...
Egypt was a land where the past and present blurred,
Market places bustled, the chatter of birdies could be heard.

Off the coast of Africa, a glittering boat enticed her,
She lost herself in Australia, and Polynasian murmur.
Somehow some months later she was dancing with a Prince,
Who partied in Bolivia as her savings did evince.

Quebec was a trip too, though short because her conscience dictated:
Can't have missed Europe lest my future self be berated.
Thus she travelled off to indulge in the Eiffel Tower,
The crumbles of the Berlin Wall and Sangrada Familia gave her power.

Albeit grand, albeit bold, albeit cunning, foxy...
The girl who had once left her home felt inside little moxy.
Her quest had taxed her bones and muscles,
Crowsfeet painted her face in Brussels,

She was a woman crestfallen and worn,
Age had adandoned her body so shorn,
It's spirit hollow and dissatisfied,
Although it lingered, it had died.

Once a fire burned in the eyes of a youth on the beach,
To undertake the world juvenile she would beseech,
And she did in fact run, she flew, far, never afraid,
But of the fire which burned in her soul, embers' smoke only stayed.

And now as she cast her wise eyes across the Channel wide,
Her lungs constricted and her heart ached, as she signed.
The clouds hung amiably, they huddled sweetly,
Puffy and inviting to any who would see.

Had it been like that there? If memory serves...
Wasn't the sky blue, and clouds white if one observes?
Wasn't it quiet? Not a sound to reach one's ears?
So scenic, and open, one vulnerable to all fears?

But it was so honest to me... I think I remember.
The summer was sizzling, but it was hot through December.
There were Farmer's markets once a week,
There I could buy a carrot, an apple, a leek...

I went to school there, students each knew two or three tongues,
There were songs I would sing at the top of my lungs,
I could scream in some places when I was frustrated,
I could skip down the sidewalk if I was elated.

Weren't there people I loved? Some friends I would see?
But in the end all my struggles and triumphs came back to me.
I learned there to walk, I learned there to fall,
But I forgot what things I needed most of all.

I travelled the world. I saw every city,
I met all kinds of people, and scenes oh-so pretty,
I didn't know who I was, until I met those who did,
And finally I may open mine eyes so lucid.

I awoke from my daze, I'd returned to my desk,
Peeled off my papers in a manor burlesque,
I glanced down scared: Oh what did I do?!
And there sat my girl, admiring the view.

Thank heavens untouched, she survived a near drowning,
And I cleaned pastel off my greened thumbs, my heart pounding.
My girl, however, was tranquil and cool,
To California she would go, her home town and her jewel.

My concern for her faded, forshe knew what to do,
The globe must be seen, to this cipher it's clue:
If beauty lies everywhere from the Congo to Rome,
One can surely find it in her heart, way back home.

-- Nilo T., 17