- The Valley
"The first valley is the Valley of the Quest, the second the Valley of Love the third is the Valley of Understanding the fourth is the Valley of Independence and Detachment the fifth of Pure Unity the sixth is the Valley of Astonishment and the seventh is the Valley of Poverty and Nothingness beyond which one can go no farther."
That is a Sufi story about a whole crowd of birds getting ready to go on an Awful Journey. They elect the Hoopoe as leader because he knows a thing or two, for instance the lie of the valleys, and which one comes after which. What I like is the way that it's all more or less as expected until you hit on the sixth.
I should like to go to the Valley of Astonishment. I wonder where it lies this astonishing Valley of Astonishment? In China perhaps? In Peru? I wonder if you could stay there out of your wits with astonishment, or if, in this witlessness, you might find yourself stumbling on, over the mountain—
Kerry Hardie was born in 1951 and lives in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Her publications include four collections of poetry, a chapbook and two novels. Most recently her book of poems The Silence Came Close was released with Gallery Press. She has won many awards, including the National Poetry Prize (Ireland).