Tag Archives: road

Travelling Alone

I used to ride the Greyhound bus to Kitchener and Waterloo to visit my sister, and my friends from university. This, after a bit of tweaking, was how I occasionally felt in a bus full of strangers watching the world go by. It needs some more work but it’ll keep.

Travelling Alone

Watch the busiest highway in Canada:
It is dizzying, and tiring.
Where are they going in such a hurry?

The generic rented truck headed eastbound:
A man moving his only son back home
All the while disappointed that he dropped out.
‘Should have learned a trade, something useful,
Like your old man; take up plumbing.’

The westbound green van:
A gaggle of girls head into the city
Their first shopping trip downtown.
‘This is so great, turn up the radio Leanne.
I hope we can find decent parking.’

The red car taking the north offramp:
A tired grandmother on her third cigarette
Absentmindedly speaking on her cellphone.
‘Yes, I just got off work. I’m headed to the store.
I’ll pick up some dinner for you and your brother.’

The fancies occupy my mind so I can forget
Just how sad I am when I travel alone.

© Bridget Noonan, 2008, 2011.


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Perhaps I ought to start with a definition, just to make things perfectly clear.

wanderlust n.
a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

And now, the poem itself. It is posted to One Single Impression, for this week’s prompt rambling.


the wail of harmonica and voice
reminds my ear of a lonesome train
limping along barren rails to nowhere
and so wanderlust grips at me,
drags me by my feet into the world.
I ride the kilometres from
Waterloo to Peterborough,
Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe
and before me I see blurred lights
the tail lights that stretch from here
to infinity; each one of them chasing
the next hour, next kilometre, next pit stop.
will this longing ever end?
can I be satisfied not knowing
what town or vista lies over these hills,
where the end of this road lies?
I am limited only by the gas in my tank,
and the money in my pocket.

the dust of a thousand days
clings to my worn shoes, while
I trudge on top of this busy road.
the rhythm of life: wheels spinning,
children playing, and dogs barking.
and I, weary traveller, pass through-
a shadow on the stone, nothing more.
my broken-down car lies behind me as
I gaze at the stars in the sky,
the burnt out pixels on a dark screen.
the only peaceful thing is to look up to
tiny points of light while the frantic pace
of night whizzes all around me.

this is my blood spilled across these pages,
my mind blown like a tumbleweed
along the empty miles between
myself and this empty chased feeling.

© Bridget Noonan, 2011.

I cannot tell you how much Elliott Smith has influenced my life. And by extension my poetry. If you have struggled, he has a song that feels like he ripped it out of your mind and put beautiful and heartbreaking music to it.

If you want to feel this poem fully, listen to the Decemberists do his song Clementine. It’s from an album of songs, made as a tribute to E. S.’s music. And if you put it first on a mix CD of driving music for roving far from home, think of me when you listen to it. I’m probably on the road with you.

I was going to post a silly freestyle rap thing I wrote at work today with/for a girl I work with, but I was feeling melancholy, and definitely had itchy feet. Maybe tomorrow.

do you miss me, Miss Misery, like you say you do?

EDIT: This has also been posted to Poets United.


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Warning Labels

What always makes people feel better? Poetry!

Well maybe not all people. Some prefer tea, or re-reading Pride and Prejudice for the millionth time, or watching a kickass movie. I love all of these things. You know what I don’t love? Being sick.

Not that anyone really enjoys being legit ill. Like go home from work after three hours of gut-wrenching agony ill, lying curled up in bed hoping for a medium-sized meteor to come screaming through your window to put you out of your misery ill. Or …whatever.

Poetry, then Doctor Who, to counterbalance my ickies! Here ’tis. I thought it was somewhat topical, as I have read a couple of warning labels today.

Warning Labels

For your own safety
Do not cross the tracks;
Or you’ll end like the chicken
A mangled pulp of blood and feathers
As it crossed the road.

Do not operate heavy machinery;
For one thing, this medication
Doesn’t come with a hard hat.

Motor vehicles prohibited!
Except for the ones the city uses
For repairs, and cutting the grass.

No smoking within ten metres of the door
You wretched nicotine addicts
Will just have to smoke in the middle
Of the street; you’re killing yourselves anyway,
Might as well be quick about it.

Life needs more warning signs.
For instance, children:
Side effects include headache,
Chronic money loss, muscle fatigue,
Insomnia, chest pain, and hoarseness.

Love ought to come with a warning label as well:
Dangerous to sanity if recommended dose is exceeded.
Or, side effects include dizziness, shortness of breath,
Elevated pulse, increased sex drive,
And in severe cases, mothers-in-law.

© Bridget Noonan, 2010, 2011.


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Soooooo, I don’t know if you know this, but sometimes Canada has snow. I know it’s been ‘spring’ for like a month, but people here are still surprised that it snowed today.

Hate to break it to ya folks, but… look where we live! Seriously.
I have learned (the hard way) not to trust the nice spring weather until after the May 2-4 weekend.  After that, we’re less likely to freeze our butts off at random. Annnnd once Labour Day hits? Snow can come any day! That is how this country works. It’s sad, but true.

Onto my reason for being: poetry. I found a cool picture, then wrote a poem to go along with it.


Three roads I see before my feet:
The left, the right, and straight ahead.
Which way to go, I do not know;
They fill me with such fear and dread.

The straight leads deeper in the woods,
Though I am now on my way home.
The left goes down toward the lake,
And I do not know how to swim.
The straight winds up beyond my sight;
My bones are weary of the road.

Where I shall go, I do not know.
They fill me with such fear and dread,
The paths I see before my feet:
The left, the right, and straight ahead.

I went the straight road in the past,
Though the steady plod had bored me.
The left path floods with every spring,
And it’s just the start of April.
The right has dangers of its own;
My mind flinches from the perils.

Three paths I see before my feet:
The left, the right and straight ahead.
Which way to go, I do not know;
My heart is full of fear and dread.

© Bridget Noonan, 2011.

It doesn’t feel quite done. Then again, I’m not sure. Thoughts?

Actually, I kind of like it- except I get the lingering feeling that I’m ripping off Robert Frost in some way. But he had two paths, and both of his looked the same. Fuck that, three is a much better number.
Oh here’s the picture that inspired this whole shebang.


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