“The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases” - William Hazlitt
We all wish to go on a journey that we have long dreamed about, to some exotic destination, some distant shore… How many hours got towards planning this trip, how many happy thoughts, how many dreams! For some such a journey must remain a dream.
Magpie Tales has shared this week an image by Mostafa Habibi that prompted me to contribute this poem.
“My life’s trapped me”, he said,
And looked forlornly at the sea.
“I wish it were otherwise,
But I’m a prisoner, a slave
To my everyday routine…”
The sea sounds speak softly to his soul,
Each susurration a sibilant invitation,
A bewitching beckon that traps his gaze,
And evinces salty reflections in his eyes,
Leaving wet trails on his wrinkled cheeks.
“Circumstances conspired against me”, he said,
And bowed his head, embarrassed,
“Family first, brothers and sisters;
Then a wife and children.
Responsibility, duty, obligation…”
The wind caresses his brow and tussles his hair,
It blows in a seashell and, magnified, the sea
That lurks there is revivified and he hearkens;
Each beat of his heart quicker, stronger now
As he looks longingly at the horizon.
“Jamaica, Zanzibar, Bali, Japan!”, he said,
And pointed far away to the distance.
“How I wish I could have sailed away
And seen them with my own eyes!
The spice islands, Andaman, Java, Ceylon…”
The boat taunts him and with the sea conspires
To rub salt into his wounds, and to laugh at his inaction –
Motionless there, as though he were rooted to the ground.
“Some are born sailors,” he said, “Some are landlubbers.
Some grab life in a fist of iron and shape it as they will –
Some life grabs and mangles into lifeless puppets.”
He looks afar and sighs and after while turns away.
“Keep for yourself your boat,” he said,
“For me six feet of sea-sodden strand will have to do…”