( at Joyce’s Tower, Sandycove, Dublin, Ireland, 1970)
All my life I have loved travelling and being a tourist, but as I grow older, I’m very happy to stay at home.
This poem, by George Jonas, is about just that.
The Circle Narrows
It is quite possible
that our common thoughts come to us from the sea
Our doubtful soul follows the herrings
And we all die after the 11 o’clock news.
Still there is
A certain self which I for my part
Keep wrapped in tinfoil among my private papers.
I am less and less concerned
with a planet I share with Arabs and caterpillars
With a country I share with fellow motorists
With women who share me with film directors
And with a heart that after minor adjustments
Could be used by a customs officer.
The trips I will take from now on
Must only be a few inches in length.
How ironic it is that I found this poem in the Saturday Review in the Spring of 1970, in my senior year of college, and that I thought enough of it to cut it out and paste it in my scrapbook from that year!
I only began my travelling after 1970!
And in 1970, the word “Arabs” only connoted, for me, strangers.
I was in the mind set of the world weary 22 year old. What an ignoramus.
Still, the poem haunts me.