Remembering, you thought that it was ‘just another day’,
A day like any other day.
But you’re mistaken, and shortsighted;
You forgot to look for difference.
Of course there was a difference, neither hiding,
Nor in the place you were looking – your paper, screen or book –
And it failed to grab your attention or give you pause.
Because you were too busy inhabiting that inner world,
A place you visit on a regular basis
Which makes one day seem like every other.
What were those special days,
The times you looked up from your thoughts or your guidebook
And became a contributing part of the world around you?
Perhaps on holiday in an unfamiliar city,
That place resting on its far deeper memories.
That became special to you, your eyes were opened.
But to the people who lived there,
It was probably a day like every other –
Except that you’d showed up, eager eyed.
They probably didn’t pay much attention to tourists
And in a way, you were grateful to be left alone
To enjoy discovering this foreign city.
But soon, being a tourist becomes ordinary.
You forget that one of the joys of life is watching people,
And that visiting cathedrals and art-galleries
Only briefly acknowledges those responsible for their existence.
Another archway, bridge, or statue can be numbing;
But people and their idiosyncrasies never wear out.
So take a while, to pause, stop doing things.
At a sidewalk café in Albi, Arles or Aix.
The people there are special, so engage your gaze.
And if they return your glance, you’ll be special too,
For them. Two lives illuminated, two worlds
Where intersecting planes ignite your knowing.
You share the pilgrim’s recognition of separate paths
That meet and coalesce and then move on.
You’ve made each other’s day –
And this day’s special.
© Peter Young 2014