Young Poet

13th February 1998 at 00:00
Moniza Alvi, this term's guest poet, was born in Pakistan and brought up in Hertfordshire. She has published two collections, "The Country at My Shoulder" and "A Bowl of Warm Air".

It could be said that travelling and writing poetry have something in common - writing can be travelling in the mind. Mary Hamilton's poem is explorative and reflective, suiting its subject, and there is a strong sense that the process of writing the poem is leading her to some fresh discoveries. She has focused on the experience of travel, rather than the destination. Her poem has captured what travel means to her and she had made some interesting observations on its strange reality, for instance "it's not on the map - It is the map." Travel seems to emphasise aloneness and individual response, with travellers in limbo, for endless time - "There's only youIn the car with a family of sixBut everyone's alone."

TRAVELLING

I like travelling

It's a kind of limbo

Between two places - it's anywhere

Somewhere where nowhere

Means everywhere.

But it's not on the map -

It is the map.

Past people -

That's travel definitely.

Travel is people's faces

Frozen for an instance in time.

Travel is the roar of an engine

Drowning out conversation.

When you're travelling proper -

An hour or more -

There's only you

In the car with a family of six

But everyone's alone.

In your own special limbo

Between Here and There

In Nowhere.

Alone in nowhere that's everywhere,

Everywhere, everywhen, everyhow,

Monotony of travel.

Limbo of movement.

Reflection of life.

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