PHYLLIS ODESSEY

Half Provokes A Tear: UXMAL, Mexico

UXMAL, MEXICO

WHEN IT COMES TO TRAVELING, I usually follow the advice of friends.  Mexico is different.  I have resisted going south of the border for years.  Feeling my heart is in the Nordic world, I wondered if  the colors, sounds and textures would seduce me. 

Approach and pause – there is a feeling here
That stifles words – and half provokes a tear;
That comes abroad with wonder overcast,
And coldly points to a mysterious past;
Like to some jewels rare whose radiant trace
Loud mocks the poor dead fingers they encase,
Or Dungeon’s gloom that here and there hath won
A stream of light from some far-distant sun-….
from Contemplation of the Uxmal Ruins
Venier Voldo
I include this poem by Venier Voldo, because it captures what I cannot.  The power of the Maya…the ruins at Uxmal in Yucatan.  You wonder how they built the pyramids, what they mean, but what matters is the spell they cast.

 As Nicholas Mitchell said in his poem Mexico: Uxmal, Yucatan (Ruins of Many Lands) in 1876, “Beauty and grace with Time are struggling there…”

Coming home after a trip is always a little bit of a struggle.  I am glad to be home: having a strong nesting instinct.  At the same time, the first day is always disorienting.  I kept the words of the Mitchell poem in my mind as I thought about the descent into the Apple.

These are our monuments and they are beautiful.  In the 19th century Mitchell describes Uxmal: “Where luxury dwells, and soft allurement smiles…”.  NYC does not have a soft side to me, but magnetism and enchantment abound and that keeps me here.
 

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