Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Ways We Might Have Gone

I could tell you about the fact that I spent far too long on my ‘age plan’ today (think am obsessed), my long msn chat with good friend P in France, the hunt for good friend A’s birthday present, an incredibly long wait to see a doctor (nothing serious) and the way I clicked open chapter 9 and just looked at it for a while, before slinking away. But all that sounds a bit dull, so I am going to share with you my favourite poem instead, (not written by me, I hasten to add).

I have three favourite poems in fact, but this, well, this may have just leap-frogged Tennyson, and that is saying something. It won The Literary Review’s prize for poetry in 2003, and is by a retired teacher, Frank McDonald. I love the simplicity of it, and the sweet rhythms the words make. I love the point it is making, the gravity of the end line, it’s the sort of poem that makes you think and, well, read for yourself…

Ways We Might Have Gone
Two roads are on offer, and what will it matter
If this one or that one is chosen today?
Who has a globe to look into the future?
What will it mean if we choose the wrong way?
Who knows the reason for making decisions
That decades from now may condemn us to hell?
Lights that entice - are they simple illusions?
Will happiness follow? Or pain? Who can tell?
A lifetime is over - we look back in wonder
At roads we neglected to journey along;
But who is to say that we could have fared better,
That we opted to go where we did not belong?
A tradesman, a teacher, a Cromwell, a Caesar,
The highways they followed all finish in dust;
Now fate in its mercy has made us an offer
That needs no decision- for take it we must.


roxy said...

I had never heard of this poem. It's beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with me, Jayne. I'll have to copy it, and look for more of Frank McDonald's work. Poetry is just what we all need sometimes. :)

Jayne said...

Hi Roxy, I'm so glad you came over; I thought you would like it. To me it says 'no worries' - what will be, will be. I like that idea, it takes the pressure off. :)

pipsmum said...

I have this poem on a yellowing page from The Mail on Sunday from October 2003 which I'd kept and recently discovered among some old papers. It still speaks to me now as it did then. Nice to know someone else was touched by it.

Jayne said...

Hello pipsmum. I too still have that same yellowing page clipping. And yes, it is nice to know I wasn't the only one moved by it. Thanks for letting me know. Such a good poem.