Many, content within their cozy cells
Of soft and safe familiarity,
Will scorn or fear the daring that compels
The youth to chase horizons, make them flee
Until the understanding spans the whole
Continuum of all humanity.
To tread the planet’s breadth from pole to pole,
To slumber under foreign stars, and share
Warmth with strangers through bonds of common soul
Spawns enlightenment critical and rare.
The epic journey jointly undertaken
Toughens the sinews of a brotherhood;
Experience’s dawn shall broadly waken
A latent sympathetic hardihood.
The road’s confusion and discovery,
Its joy and danger, thrill and dullness should
Ever embrace, like lovers’ ecstasy,
To make the vistas and the grandeur sweet,
All the mobile conviviality
Richer in slogging through the cold and heat.
For who – but few! – have bathed in every ocean,
Or breathed the air of half the biosphere’s
Teeming diversities through global motion,
Or plunged into the reservoir of tears
And sweat and blood exuded by the most
Of Adam’s race, which evermore coheres
Into a sea that never laps a coast?
The restless, brave, and curious alone
Make trek to tangiate the fragile ghost
Of solidarity’s prevailing groan.
Oh, what prodigious treasure of fulfillment
Accumulated in the greed for road,
When sandaled feet have pressed for full distillment
The liquor to the traveler bestowed!
Oh, one like me remains ashamed to die
(Too lazy to exceed my own abode)
And longs, one day, with fortitude to try
Some great adventure and romantic test
Of worth in journey, and as boldly fly
As Thomas stepped the Earth in ardent quest.
This poem is based on the book: Thumbs Up: A Hitchhiking Irishman and 25,000 Kilometres from Patagonia to the Arctic