Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bus ride and I write a long pastoral prose poem - you have been warned!

Well, Suki wasn't actually stood up, as she stood him down again, so there you are, that's why i was scared by the cat because he wasn't home and i was expecting him.
Sarajevo is small, and we pass through great fields very quickly, and every kilometre 5 or 6 burned-out buildings are clearly visible. One building in a giant field has been reduced to a scorched concrete skeleton, as if a cake where the mixture has perished but the jam remains, calcified into aa solid form of a cage. Out beyond the city, and into the mountains (Sarajevo stands at 2000 feet), farms with giant Van Gogh-esque haystacks, skewered down the middle with wooden poles like the gimmick with large burgers in restaurants to keep the filling in. 80 foot pines loom all around, enormous trees heavily leafed and spruce, fastidiously fishboned into acreages of detail, like ornate clubs or crystallised green snowflakes. they form the texture of one vision for a while.
Haystacks come by the dozen now, someone has been busy, and the hills mellow and deciduous trees have sprouted out for the viewer. Cute rectangular battalions of corn, only the size of tennis pitches, stand like sinister battalions on an agricultural battle ground, and i spot by one farm stead a cow with the grey and dusty cream pelt of a linoleum floor, lithe and more stretched than the more heavily bred varieties, its forms more rounded and with a happy bulbous face. Clouds here are more bubbly, the sky an intimate and deep blue in contrast to the aloof and high racked clouds of Sarajevo.
Hmmm, a bit on sheep...(look away now if you are easily, well, easily...)
Then I spot sheep! Like wildebeest int he valley, shadow-spotted by the vulture sun into fatter beasts, hippo or pig, their second coats of blackness like external properties of un-vampiric and non-neverland substance, doubling their numbers into a second herd shifted down and to the right. Yes, shaggy coats of anti-colour, anti-matter, neigh anti-sheep these shadows, blackholes under the wings of these bullheaded trojans, stalkers of the served up luncheon of grassy dinner plate, perhaps a truly wondrous sighting of the never spotted balkan master breed...or perhaps just the odd feeling you get when you havent seen any of them having spent two weeks in a country! Further scoping of the sky does reveal field boundaries, diminishing the poetry of the moment a little, but the sun that has chained these animals to this little window of meadow has illumined something so unexpected as to grant a little poetic reconstruction and to imagine these beasts roaming a giant inland balkan savanna of a grander poetic scale, it would be very cute anyway.
You can look back now
And once again this international coach stops in the middle of nowhere, literally, not a house to be seen, as another passport-verified ticket holder mounts the bus as cars pass us by. The passenger looks happy, perhaps just happy to be alive, or perhaps just happy to be picked up! But this unsophisticated means of country swapping has very much an "I'm happy to be alive" school trip feel about it, every kilometre a sort of bonus. Just to be ticket holder is to be tickled and spruced up by the gentle summer sun, and even the road has a lilting comedy about it, its endless sinuousness (heralded every kilometre by the humorously redundant "twisty road" sign), its almost no problem to spin it out even longer with lengthy pit stops to have kebab and a coffee (only two pound twenty for both!).
The landscape changes again. An undisturbed screen of water looks up at the coach, in it a second sky, above the crags peer baldly from the trees, their chaotic structure mirrored by the whorls of trees that are now around them, a more mixed and deciduous canopy of heterogeneous appearance. The water is a lake, houses come to its shore and are luxuriously elongated along the vertical, a mini alp up above waves like a musical clef and the coach plunges through tunnels along the edge. And a lie down later we are at the customs for Serbia...

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