Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Bucket List

Here's a poem that appeared in Prole, Poetry and Prose, issue 11, back in August, 2013. It was inspired by a poem called Stations by Jim C. Wilson, which I read in a Happenstance pamphlet entitled Will I ever get to Minsk? It also contains a fond reminiscence of Fyfe Robertson, the idiosyncratic travel reporter on the BBC's Tonight programme in the 1960s, and his oft parodied catchphrase, "Hellooo, I'm standing here..."

The Bucket List

I always thought some day I'd go abroad,
imagination fired by places conjured up
from wireless shipping forecasts' fog-bound names,
South Utsire, Viking, Forties, German Bight,

to travelogues in mealy black and white;
Hel-ooo, I'm standing here... (while you're still there),
before a Colourmaster set revealed
Kampuchea, Vietnam and Communists.

I'd also read of lands, devoured in books,
that beckoned me from far beyond a north-east coast,
from mythic cities over chartless seas,
from Tír na nÓg and Rivendell to Shangri-La.

With itchy feet I felt compelled to go
and crossed the border on the train, all by myself,
but got no further than these foreign tongues,
Scouse and Cockney, Geordie, Brummie, migrant Strine.

Now, decades later, passport's bought at last!
Resolved, ahead of pension age, to travel far,
I'm reading Outback Trek and TripAdvisor--
it's Machu Pichu, Chichen Itza, then Tibet!

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