For Roger

The beard is grey and hair now thins apace
Which frames the contours of your Autumn face,
But mind is sharp, the body lither now
And age’s crown sits lightly on your brow.
So go you gently from your working years
To busier ones ahead and shed no tears
For what is past. That worthy task is done
And countless pupils to their futures gone.
Upon the sea a timely zephyr blows
And on the mountains lie eternal snows.
To you, great teacher, wise and laughing friend,
“Ad Multos Annos” is the wish we send.


Quechua Christ

In the desert was I tempted.
Thirst besieged my throat
And sleep my eyes.
Stones were my only bread
And thorn bushes
My resting place.
My feet stumbled
On precipitous paths.
My mind wandered
With the wind
And sought refuge
In the moving sands.

But still I would not yield.

On the mountains was I tempted.
Finest vicuña
Clothed my limbs
And Inca gold
Crowned my brow.
On the upstream of Time,
I soared with condors
And saw, from the clouds,
The Lands of the Earth.

I alone possessed
The arts of the shamans
And, in my two hands
Held the thunderbolts of power.

But still I would not yield.

At the appropriate time,
I came down from the high plains
And, in the sacred valley,
Drank at the springs of Life.

AJS – On the Altiplano, Peru, April 1998