Posted by: John Looker | 3 November, 2019

The Point of Departure

 

  The traveller was ready 
but this was a journey without a horse or armour, 
sans sword, sans shield or squire, and yet
there was a sort of Lady’s Favour: her young face
smiling warmly from the home screen on his phone. 
He would carry this wherever the journey took him 
but she knew he was impatient to be gone. 
  All around were people peddling their certainties: 
aunts with crumbs of scripture caked upon their lips, 
men in their hand-me-down liveries 
of inherited political clans. Even his friends seemed
comfy with the old contentions. Did they never question,
but daily thump their tankards on the greasy board,
singing the same old songs as the torches guttered?
  All he had needed was a prompt. 
A vision would have served him best 
or an angel perhaps, some ethereal messenger, 
but in the event it was simpler than that
and belonged to the world he knew. 
A fragment of song slipped into his head and lodged, 
a riff, a phrase that spoke of another life 
or the prospect of enlightenment, 
of bringing home some talisman of the Truth. 
  So, hoisting his backpack, he left. 

©John Looker 2019

I am grateful to Poetry Salzburg Review who published this in their recent edition. It is the opening poem of a sequence with the title ‘The Galahad Call’ which I hope may be published in a forthcoming book.

 


Responses

  1. Excellent John. Up to your usual high standard. I liked it very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks Tom – that’s good of you!

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  2. Yes. This. This is fantastic. Thank you for sharing.

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    • And thank you for commenting! You’re very kind.

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  3. So many wonderful lines in this, John. I especially love “…aunts with crumbs of scripture caked upon their lips…” Masterful poetry as always!

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    • Hello Betty, I’m glad the poem works for you – thank you!

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  4. “Did they never question, but daily thump their tankards on the greasy board, singing the same old songs as the torches guttered?” Absolutely brilliant.

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    • Thank you Sarah – that is enormously encouraging!

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  5. This piece is so inspiring. Beautifully penned, John!

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  6. So glad you came across my site and I, now, yours. A beautifully written poem where such descriptive words slice through time and bring to a young man a vision where time is no boundary, where quests will always be ventured into.

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    • Thank you for visiting and commenting Renee; it is very nice to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have kept this one in my in box and read and re-read. it is deep and rich and most worthy of publication. Thank you for sharing.

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    • Thank you so much Jane – I am honoured that you have been rereading the poem. It’s the first of a sequence with a male central character but really it is the human spirit I am trying to write about, irrespective of gender; I have also written a complementary sequence with a woman at the heart.

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  8. Thank you. As always immensely satisfying on many fronts.

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    • Hello Hilary – thank you for your kind words.

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  9. I absolutely love this, John; I particularly admire how seamlessly you interweave the ancient and modern worlds in images and language. It has the sweep and richness of an old heroic poem, yet feels completely fresh and contemporary; both of another time and entirely of this one. Put me down for a copy of the book! N.

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    • Thank you Nick, I am delighted that it appeals to you and you are very kind. Best wishes, John

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