The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled

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(Poem by Leonita Flynn. Image by Moi)

Like many folk, when first I saddled a rucksack,
feeling its weight on my back –
the way my spine
curved under it like a meridian –

I thought: Yes. This is how
to live. On the beaten track, the sherpa pass, between Krakow
and Zagreb, or the Siberian white
cells of scattered airports;

it came clear as over a tannoy
that in restlessness, in anony
mity:
was some kind of destiny.

So whether it was the scare stories about Larium
– the threats of delirium
and baldness – that lead me, not to a Western Union
wiring money with six words of Lithuanian,

but to this post office with a handful of bills
or a giro; and why, if I’m stuffing smalls
hastily into a holdall, I am less likely
to be catching a greyhound from Madison to Milwaukee

than to be doing some overdue laundry
is really beyond me.
However,
when, during routine evictions, I discover

alien pants, cinema stubs, the throwaway
comment – on a post–it – or a tiny stowaway
pressed flower amid bottom drawers,
I know these are my souvenirs

and, from these crushed valentines, this unravelled
sports sock, that the furthest distances I’ve travelled
have been those between people. And what survives
of holidaying briefly in their lives

~ Leonita Flynn

2 Replies to “The Furthest Distances I’ve Travelled”

    1. Thank you! I came across this poem on the A level syllabus I was delivering to my students, and the simple beauty of it moved me deeply. I am glad to try and give it a wider audience

      Like

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