Travelling in the wilderness

For the dverse prompt.

Unless we never see, but wear
the rosy tinted specs that show
us cocooned life without a care
except the choice of leisure, where
we ought to go and what to hear,
the balmy music of the palms,
the rolling surf upon the sand,
a camel ride to Marrakesh,
the Taj Mahal or Samarkand,
unless we never ever look,
open the pages of a book,
or raise a curious awe-struck eye
to passing wonders in the sky,
we’ll never know this path we tread
was trod by all the countless dead
whose voices murmur low and sigh;
we’ll never hear the wild-child bark
of courting foxes in the dark.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

40 thoughts on “Travelling in the wilderness”

  1. Oh, Jane, the rhythm and the rhyme scheme make this look initially simple. It reminded me of some of Robert Louis Stephenson’s verses – and then the ending suddenly dark and direct and right here, right now. It’s a great volta, even if this isn’t a sonnet. Also, Marrakesh! Samarkand! places that teeter on the edge of myth.

    1. Thank you! I went travelling 🙂 Exotic is fake unless it’s your home environment, I think. We make myths out of place names and want to go and touch them.
      Samarkand is a lovely name, and I’m surprised to learn that it still exists!

  2. Near the home from which we just moved, a fox visited frequently, and on rare occasions we got to hear his “wild child cry”, which is heart=stopping. I loved your poem, and its wise thoughts.

  3. “we’ll never know this path we tread was trod by all the countless dead,”… this is an amazingly worded poignant capture of the harsh realities of the world. 💝

  4. “we’ll never know this path we tread
    was trod by all the countless dead
    whose voices murmur low and sigh;
    we’ll never hear the wild-child bark
    of courting foxes in the dark.”

    This is one of those poems I could read again and again and enjoy it. Bravo!

  5. ‘Travelling in the wilderness’ is how I see foreign travel these days, Jane. So much of the world has been ruined by war and tourism. Most of the time, places we dream of because we read about them in books don’t live up to our expectation. Next to ‘the balmy music of the palms, / the rolling surf upon the sand’ is dirt and deprivation.Marrakesh,
    the Taj Mahal and Samarkand may sound more poetic than Yorkshire or Norfolk, but I have found beauty on my own doorstep, enough for me to explore and close enough to listen to the ‘wild-child bark of courting foxes in the dark’.

  6. The poem moves as one entity – it has a lovely rhythm to read aloud and the final lines are just gorgeous
    “we’ll never know this path we tread
    was trod by all the countless dead
    whose voices murmur low and sigh;
    we’ll never hear the wild-child bark
    of courting foxes in the dark.”

    1. Thanks Laura. There’s very little that divides us from the outside, in this house. The cold fills it, wildlife and plants scamper through the cracks in the stonework and some days it’s warmer outside than in. It’s more of a glorified burrow than a house. I feel for the wild things.

    1. There were signs of that here too, but as soon as the traffic got going again and the urban rhythm picked up, everybody seemed to forget how much they had enjoyed seeing wildlife instead of cars.

  7. To all those who go through life wearing blinders, read this and know that you are not as unique as you think, others have gained or suffered so that you might not, and your actions affect all those around you.

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