To sea or not to sea

There’s the usual debate about the sense or otherwise of bank holidays in the UK press today. Millions hoping to head into the stuff of dreams wind up overheated, frustrated and angry in miles long traffic jams on the motorway. When I have the choice between home or away on a bank holiday weekend I’ll pretty much always opt to stay. But dreams are important. I was enormously touched by one of Ruth Bidgood’s poems this evening:

Train to the Sea

When she was old, contented,
I think, with her inland home,
she said ‘One of these mornings
I’m going to get on a train
by myself, and go to the sea.’
It became just something she would say,
repeated with no urgency,
little conviction. No one felt any need
to help her set out on that small adventure.
No one thought she would do it, or even
that she truly wanted to go.

Yet after she died, I found her list
of trains to the sea, crumpled a bit
and thumbed, as if she had often
peered at it, making her plans.
But always in the end it seemed
a formidable, rash and lonely thing,
that little journey, and she calmed
her heart with small domestic things,
or saw rain coming, or heavy heat, and stayed.

Ruth Bidgood
Selected Poems, page 134

There’s life in dreams. They’re of the utmost importance, even, perhaps especially, for stayers.

4 thoughts on “To sea or not to sea

    1. Yes: that is just exactly the word – though it wouldn’t come to mind when I was looking for it last evening. Bittersweet. Sweetbitter. Poetry allows space for both possibilities doesn’t it? And that is always its unique magic – though it’s often helped along by someone else’s spot on reading of it – so thank you! xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Lori. Another bang on the nail reflection. I know that I do need to push at my own comfort level sometimes. Your note caused me to look up the etymology of ‘poignant’ – from the Old French for something with a ‘sharp point’ … needle, pen or poem? Have a super day (and don’t go missing out on anything!) xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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