Train to the East (A Poem about Travelling)
I wrote this poem a while back, before I had children. Seeing differents parts of the world was something that was really important to me. I loved (and still do, though the opportunites have become less) the excitement and anticipation of discovering a new culture; a way of life that is different from my own. Travelling to another country has often left me with another sense of perspective; a renewed zest for life, particularly when I have interacted with the native people.
'Train to the East' is a poem I wrote whilst thinking about a young girl travelling around Asia. It is a fictional poem, not particularly based on my own experiences. I did, however, visit Bali and Lombok in Indonesia which left me with a great deal of wonderful memories. We travelled about for three weeks, making friends with a local boy who drove us to many amazing places. We visited his home, where his family sat outside carving wooden ornaments with hens clucking at our feet and a cow in the background. We trekked around paddy fields and saw people cultivating rice. We drove up mountain roads and passed remote villages where local children waved and called to us as we went by. I have a lovely memory of stopping for a while in one of these villages and sitting with some locals, none of whom could speak English, while someone played a guitar. It was far removed from the stresses and strains of our usual lives. Later on that day, a rather hairy moment occurred when the road we were travelling on was so high that we were completely engulfed by rain and mist and could barely see the road. That was particularly nailbiting, as we were very aware that the drop off the side of the road was heart-stoppingly enormous. Even worse, the young lad who was driving had only just passed his test! We survived, though, and spent the afternoon on a rowing boat in the rain visiting a temple.
Soon after this wonderful trip we had our first child and, so far, we have not visited anyway else in the East. However, it has always been a part of the world I would love to explore further. 'Train to the East' is not about myself as such, though the girl I imagine is travelling freely through amazing, culturally-rich lands, gaining insight and meeting welcoming people, just as I have dreamed of doing more of.
Train to the East
She took a train to the East,
Wearing sandals over dusty feet,
As she crossed eternal lands
There were workers in fields of yams.
The sun was amber and red.
As it fell and died, the colours bled.
A blazing blanket of truth,
It spread over her world like a roof.
She had beads placed in her hair,
And dressed in sarongs, light as the air,
As she strolled through crowded streets,
She was looking for people to meet.
The mountains towered like kings.
The flowers and trees began to sing.
There were monks, temples and yaks,
And families with babies on backs.
Melodies tugged at her heart.
The call of pipes; the magic of art,
Intricate carvings were born
With the wonder of each new dawn.
The journey home was mundane.
She covered familiar terrain
And in her mind was a song
Of a world which let her belong.
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