Found Poem “Marco’s Travels”

When a man is riding through this desert by night
and for some reason ..
falling asleep or anything else ..
he gets separated from his companions
and wants to rejoin them,
he hears spirit voices talking to him
as if they were his companions,
sometimes even calling him by name.
Often these voices lure him away from the path
and he never finds it again,
and many travelers have got lost and died because of this.
Sometimes in the night travelers hear a noise
like the clatter of a great company of riders
away from the road;
if they believe that these are some of their own company
and head for the noise,
they find themselves in deep trouble
when daylight comes
and they realize their mistake.
There were some who,
in crossing the desert,
have been a host of men coming towards them and,
suspecting that they were robbers,
they have gone hopelessly astray….
Even by daylight men hear these spirit voices,
and often you fancy you are listening to the strains of many instruments,
especially drums, and the clash of arms.
For this reason bands of travelers make a point of keeping very close together.
Before they go to sleep they set up a sign
pointing in the direction in which they have to travel,
and round the necks of all their beasts they fasten little bells,
so that by listening to the sound
they may prevent them from straying off the path.

exerpt from “Marco Polo’s Travels”


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