On Journey

Trees of burnished copper and gold,
smoky purple canopies
and twiggy red limbs
Line the A30 heading east.
The “Welcome Home” copse on the hill,
stands guard on entry to Cornwall.
But I am going the other way
No time to stop for a photo today.
Flocks of Starlings rising like a speech bubble
From the farmers’ fields
Into the watered silk sky
before falling back down again.
And pretty roe deer feed by the side of the road.
Sheep. So many sheep. And even lambs in Devon.
Dartmoor rises like a humped backed whale
On my right.
Signs to the Pathfinder Village on my left.
Where one of the three speed cameras lies.
I slow, although I am not speeding.
The sight of the arched blue bridge
Over the motorway,
Means I can pick up more speed.
More cars mean more concentration
On the road.
Keep your distance
Stay two chevrons apart.
A phallic symbol rears up from behind the Mendip hills.
Closer by an ancient water tower squats.
Leaving Bristol behind I can relax
And admire the green valley with its low-lying mist,
or the River Avon full to the brim,
flood meadow not yet  flooded.
It won’t be long.
So many articulated lorries headed for Birmingham,
Manchester and the North.
I am glad to reach the Worcester turn off
Where the Malvern Hills look malevolent
as they crouch like a sleeping dragon
on the horizon.
The low slung sun dips in and out behind black clouds
And blinds me on the summits
as I try to avoid the potholes at the side of the road.
Welcome to Herefordshire
You Can.
Can what?
There is the Clee Hill, once a welcoming sight
As I headed home to lovely Ludlow.
Now, its peak shrouded in cloud as I pass it by,
still keeping watch over the medieval town.
Finally the Shropshire Hills.
The Longmynd, Caradoc, Ragleth Hill
loom in the background.
I have arrived.
5 hours later.

~wander.essence~ On Journey/Poetry

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

35 thoughts on “On Journey”

  1. Wonderful, Jude! You have brought me right along with you on your journey and I can see and feel the drive and the changing surroundings. So many great poetic devices – the personification of the “Welcome Home” copse, metaphors such as “starlings rising like a speech bubble” (I can picture it so clearly) and the malevolent Malvern Hills “crouch like a sleeping dragon.” I also love how you speed the poem up and slow it down and speed it up again, making us aware of the speeding traffic and the need to pay attention. And it’s all so British: the sheep, the place names, the words (lorries, chevrons, motorways). Thanks so much for writing this! I really enjoyed it so much. I’m so happy to have another poem to link to my next poetic journeys on March 1. 🙂

    1. Thank you Cathy for your lovely comment and for inspiring me to write more! Glad you enjoyed this one. I was alone in the car and made a note to myself to be more observant on the journey (as well as the road of course 😉 )

      1. Thank YOU, Jude! It really makes my day to think I might inspire anyone!! I love reading your wonderful writing when you go outside your comfort zone. I think, at least for me, writing poetry is way outside my comfort zone, and that’s why it feels so satisfactory when I actually set myself to the task of writing it. You are such a good writer, Jude. I love to read your stories and poems. 🙂

  2. Oh, wonderful, Jude! Did I know you wrote poetry? It has a wonderful sense of motion, of excitement, and you have me returning too past places that I have known…..

    1. I write very little poetry these days Sue and always the sort of prose style. There is a bit of mine on the site if you click on the poetry tag.

  3. It doesn’t get much better than that, Jude. So evocative, I could have been sitting next to you in the car. A house-hunting memory, perhaps? 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Sadly not Pete, this was my trip up to Shropshire for the M-i-L’s funeral last November. Luckily it wasn’t raining. The journey back was a nightmare!

  4. Oh Jude, this is really really great – as a poem and as an evocation of a journey. I’m trying to write the journey home at the moment, using Theroux as a model. I should use you! There’s something about traversing a road often taken that creates resonances and depth in a way an unfamiliar journey can’t hope to. More more more please.

    1. I suppose my attention was focused on my surroundings as I knew the following weeks were not going to be easy. I was also not well at the time, but couldn’t put it off.

  5. Brilliant, Jude! Really 🙂 🙂 I loved that speech bubble of starlings too, and the watered silk sky. I sat on your shoulder as we journeyed north. One last time!

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