Tuesday, 13 December 2011


“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.

The Never-Journeyed

“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…”


  1. dear Nicholas, a sad sad poem. very true though.
    "Circumstances conspired against me" i think we all say or think that in the course of our lives... such a mistake

  2. Beautifully written. For a different view of the susurration of the sea, drop by...

  3. I wouldn't regret obligations to people that I loved. What I am afraid I will regret is obligations to maintain posessions that take away our freedom to choose our path.

  4. Beautiful write...I love the notion of the sea conspiring to rub salt in his wounds...

  5. I read the sea as a metaphor for life and how it does seem to conspire against us. Like it very much.

  6. Oh, I think you and I were on the same wavelength with this one. Beautifully sad sir.

  7. A very poignant poem, and an epitaph for a man who believed he had not lived to the full.

  8. Beutifully sad - I think we were thinking on similar lines - as said, yours is beautifully done!

    Anna :o]

  9. The sea is a medium of temptation...whispering to the dutiful man, preying gleefully upon his natural wish to escape. Yet he remains rooted where he believes he must stand unselfishly.You lightly present a moral, I think, in this classic tale of temptation and a man's steadfastness.

  10. This is such a poignant poem, Nicholas… It brings to life the tantalising scene depicted in the painting.

  11. Greetings:

    Hope all is well.

    Come join our poetry picnic today,

    Random poems are welcome in case you don’t have a theme fitting one.
    First time participants can submit 1 to 3 random poems,

    Best wishes.
    Happy Holidays.
    Looking forward to seeing you share.