Poets have always celebrated great journeys: Odysseus’ ten-year trek homeward from Troy; Dante’s hell-to-paradise hike with his trusty guide Virgil; Chaucer’s tale-spinning pilgrims pub-crawling their way to Canterbury, to name a very few.
The English Romantics
, especially Wordsworth
, are known for their long strolls across the landscape. In fact, Wordsworth claimed to have composed all of “Tintern Abbey” in his head during one of these walks (thus introducing the world to the idea of the working vacation).
For those of us who, for whatever reason, won’t be traveling this summer, we can always immerse ourselves in other cultures from the comfort of our own front porches through poets whose work is intimately tied to their particular place and time. Off the top of my head, I think of C.P. Cavafy’s Alexandria
, Seamus Heaney’s Dublin
and William Carlos Williams’ Paterson, New Jersey
(perhaps not the most exotic of locales, but the poem is stunning in its way).
As always, if you have a favorite poem or collection of poems about or involving a journey, drop me a line and tell me why it is meaningful to you. I’ll share some of your comments in a future post.
Pack plenty of sunscreen, and don’t forget to write.