Borders (Walking with Jon)

Not lovers yet,
we passed long nights
walking together,
our summer sandals
marking minutes
on cracked sidewalks
as we continued a conversation
we swore we would never tire of
or finish.

Once, we walked into another country
starting from my front porch.
That was Canada.
Until then, neither of us knew
there was a walk for pedestrians
spanning two countries,
& we stood amazed
at the foot of the Peace Bridge,
the Canadian side
where our wandering led us,
feet damp with dew
on the other side of the Niagara
& watched our city
string its reflection on the river,
its dull nighttime glow
dimming the stars.

Another night,
we started in your neighborhood
& traced the periphery
of the zoo walls with our steps,
its wildness safely contained
behind that tall granite.
Still, the calls of lions
and peacocks,
beautifully lonely & borne by the air
of our own city, & mingled with its exhaust
took us to a different place;
a continent
both seductively warm
& dangerous
on our safari of the spirit.

Using this today for the Dverse poetry prompt, where we are playing with symbolism.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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61 Responses to Borders (Walking with Jon)

  1. nelle says:

    Ah, Buffalo. I spent the most of January, 1979 there. 🙂 Once again, a worthy read.

  2. Thank you Nelle–this would have been about ’89–you were here in its heyday 🙂

  3. The reader is taken along with you and Jon on your safaris. amazing how you let him/her into the joy in the simple moments shared (feet damp with dew) and the beauty of the places you visited “string its reflection on the river” is beautiful – and dimming the stars is powerful. Then the visit to the zoo…..beautiful. shall I then say in my imperfect swahili that this must have been a “safari mzuri” ((enjoyable trip) for you? Does that safari reply today and say “Karibu tena” – You are always welcome/come again?

    • Yes, Jon was a him (I seem to end up with companions that favor alternative name spellings that can lead to gender confusion 🙂 ).

      Have not taken walks like these in years–miss them! Just walking and talking, losing track of time spent and space covered.

  4. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I am familiar with the spaces you are talking about and I know that bridge and the two sides of the Niagara River. But even if I was not, your poem would make them familiar.

  5. doncarroll says:

    very nice susan. great capture of the borders.

    • Thank you! Can’t believe we used to walk across that bridge in ’89–am sure would be impossible/illegal to do now since 9/11. Haven’t tried.

  6. Rhonda says:

    How did I miss this one? I think a trip to Buffalo is in order…I want to take a walk over the Peace Bridge. Is this an old flame? lovely Susan, as always

  7. Claudia says:

    love when the spirit goes on a safari, discovering new land, looking at things from different angles…much magic in these walks…damp feet with dew…nice…

    • thanks much, Claudia. All I could think about after I saw the prompt was the symbolism in walking, where we walked. Had to share this one instead of making something new 😉

  8. janehewey says:

    a deliciously heart-warming poem. I loved walking this with you, Susan.

  9. Lovely imagery all through this Susan. I really liked the image of being able to walk from one country to another. Having crossed the border from Canada into the USA in a car several times, I can see the pedestrian thrill of it.
    Really lovely write Susan.

  10. You’ve managed a visit to the past, to two countries and thrown in a safari as well, all the while weaving, creating great symbolism.

  11. brian miller says:

    nice….the wild contained makes me a little sad, but to get a taste of it at least can surely transform you as well….would not mind a bit of time in the wild…pretty cool to be able to put your feet in two countries too…i like little details like the cracked sidewalks too…

    • Brian, thank you…it was sad–zoos always make me a bit sad, the animals out of their element, and us out of ours too hearing them, and then walking into another country, being other, just across the border.

  12. unfetteredbs says:

    what a great romantic walk you have allowed us to feel with you..

  13. The Enfant Terrible says:

    I love it! I feel like I’m being carried along with you in the early and exciting stages of your relationship. Wonderfully vivid! I’ve been there a few times. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  14. tashtoo says:

    Wow Susan! This is fantastic…you don’t just cross countries…you explore whole continents, with what must be a beautiful city as your back drop. Loved it!

  15. Laurie Kolp says:

    Safari of the spirit… I love that. This is so beautiful, Susan. I especially like the waterfall and:

    & watched our city
    string its reflection on the river,
    its dull nighttime glow
    dimming the stars.

  16. Emily says:

    What a lovely adventure filled with beautifully crafted imagery. I feel like I am there walking too. Something in the way you call it “our city” really brings this home to me.

  17. Mary says:

    I loved this story, Susan. Nice to reminisce about such enjoyable times…..what wonderful walks these were!

  18. Breathless imagery… I adore the language in this.

  19. Susan says:

    Walking together is my favorite symbol. Once, when in a dwindling relationship, I had a pair of shoes made for me so I got to feel what it was like to walk in my own shoes. Soooo, I found this poem delightful as the walk crossed borders and found niches of wildness and foreignness and kept walking never to O did it? end?

  20. Serena says:

    Well done. You drew me in using all the senses and made me smile! You brought your memories to life in quite the stunning manner…

  21. Walking to seek, no pedometer required. 🙂

  22. lucychili says:

    wonderful journeys

  23. I see that you touched on our border, but the Niagara Fall from my side is always stunning ~ Thanks for sharing the walks and pathways of your memories ~ Lovely writing as always Susan ~


  24. David King says:

    Just to reinforce Jeremy’s comment, I knew nothing about any of them, but was completely taken along.

  25. Oh, for many reasons I feel I lived this poem. Sadly, when I was in Buffalo earlier in the year I did not get to Canada, though I’ve been through a large part of British Columbia. Your skill in description and emotional intelligence made me feel present and inside the poem.

  26. Sheila says:

    this makes me think about how love is a journey that can take us many places.

  27. poemsofhateandhope says:

    Adventure, discovery, companionship, such great symbolism in that city you describe so well….these are places I hope to one day visit myself – even more so through your delicately woven lines

  28. Because in the right company anywhere can hold adventure!

  29. Lindy Lee says:

    Safari of the spirit walking along the dividing line between Canada & the U.S.? Thank you for taking this reader along…

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