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Ten Great Poems of Journeys

I usually take a book of poetry on my travels. You can re-read them, and they also make you think.
Here are 10 of my favourite poems of journeys.
I’ll put one up in full on the site each Sunday for the next 10 weeks.

– Ulysses: Alfred, Lord Tennyson
– Sea-Fever: John Masefield
– Poetry of Departures: Philip Larkin
– The Bright Field: RS Thomas
To an English Friend in Africa: Ben Okri
– High Flight: John Gillespie Magee
The Call of the Wild: Robert Service
– Home from Abroad: Laurie Lee
– Journey of the Magi: TS Eliot (I also love the Waste Land but do not profess to understand it at all!)
– The Explorer: Rudyard Kipling

Have I missed your favourite poem? Have your say in the comments…

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  1. Invictus by William Henley-carry it with me everywhere.

  2. Alistair, surely you’ve forgotten the absolute classics: Aeneid and Iliad. They’re not in English and probably classed as epics, but great poetry nevertheless!

    On a more serious note, I recently received a collection of Blake poems. Haven’t picked out a clear favourite, although ‘Memory’ stands out, but perhaps soon. In any case, it’s great descriptive and emotive poetry.

  3. Ithaca by Constantine Cavafy

  4. Marina Posted

    Two of my favorites: Wild Geese and The Journey, both from Mary Oliver.

  5. I think W H Auden’s “O Where Are You Going” is an excellent fit to your Micro-Adventures book – don’t listen (too much) to the dark imagining of what might happen…

    • “O where are you going?” said reader to rider,
      “That valley is fatal when furnaces burn,
      Yonder’s the midden whose odors will madden,
      That gap is the grave where the tall return.”

      “O do you imagine,” said fearer to farer,
      “That dusk will delay on your path to the pass,
      Your diligent looking discover the lacking
      Your footsteps feel from granite to grass?”

      “O what was that bird,” said horror to hearer,
      “Did you see that shape in the twisted trees?
      Behind you swiftly the figure comes softly,
      The spot on your skin is a shocking disease?”

      “Out of this house” ‚ said rider to reader,
      “Yours never will” ‚ said farer to fearer,
      “They’re looking for you” ‚ said hearer to horror,
      As he left them there, as he left them there.
      WH Auden

  6. okay… one more : )

    Sleeping in the Forest

    I thought the earth remembered me,
    she took me back so tenderly,
    arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
    full of lichens and seeds.
    I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
    nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
    but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
    among the branches of the perfect trees.
    All night I heard the small kingdoms
    breathing around me, the insects,
    and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
    All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
    grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
    I had vanished at least a dozen times
    into something better.

    from Sleeping In The Forest by Mary Oliver
    © Mary Oliver



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