What If This Road – the Sunday Travel Poem by Sheenagh Pugh
It’s not that I would have ever left my son behind. I wouldn’t. But when my firstborn was in daycare in 1984, I had to turn my car around every day and go to work.
I was living in Ottawa at the time. Going south on Bronson Road I faced the same decision each day. Go left and take the Airport Parkway and on to unknown places. Right (which I took every Monday to Friday) to work. A good job but it was not travel.
Ah, if the roads we take every day could offer us the surprises, even on occasion, that travel delivers.
In this poem by Sheenagh Pugh, a British poet (originally from Wales) who says in her biography “I have been accused of being “populist” and “too accessible”, both of which I hope are true” (I love the attitude), we are offered a road to explore what we don’t know. To see what could be. What could happen.
But in reading this poem I was reminded of my experience driving to work those many mornings when I had to make the road that held no surprises rich with surprises for me. Travel cannot always be on our agenda but we can still still look around blind corners for new discoveries. Whichever way you want to read this poem, I hope you enjoy.
What If This Road
What if this road, that has held no surprises
these many years, decided not to go
home after all; what if it could turn
left or right with no more ado
than a kite-tail? What if its tarry skin
were like a long, supple bolt of cloth,
that is shaken and rolled out, and takes
a new shape from the contours beneath?
And if it chose to lay itself down
in a new way; around a blind corner,
across hills you must climb without knowing
what’s on the other side; who would not hanker
to be going, at all risks? Who wants to know
a story’s end, or where a road will go?
~ Sheenagh Pugh ~