whenever you come upon a well
you should lift its bucket to your lips
and drink deeply. wells may be few,
and far between. thirst
is always nearby.
when lost at sea always sail
in the direction of the dragons, sea- serpents,
they have escaped, as you must, the cage
of latitude and longitude.
when in a foreign city, take care.
to be wordless is not to be silent
and you are shouting at the passers-by.
when you meet a stranger
offer a name. it is harder to do harm
to another whose name one knows. do not
offer your secret name. it is easier to do harm
to another whose secret name one knows.
do not seek to know names.
never draw a map in hope
of helping a friend to find you.
when you have drawn a map in hope
of helping a friend to find you,
keep it safely in your pocket. points
of departure can be tricky, destinations
are trickier still, and maps, and people, and other things,
are so easily mislaid on journeys. besides,
no doubt your friend already owns a map
and will not thank you.
if you find yourself in a desert
looking at a shining city,
head towards the shining city.
if you find yourself in a shining city
looking at a desert,
head towards the desert.
if you find yourself at home
drink deeply and then
cover your well. admit no travellers.
if you go to any city, or desert, often enough
or stay long enough
it will become a lover, and
travellers are the death