When I was eleven (quite a long time ago), I was lucky enough to win a spot on a special children’s trip to Japan. There was another girl on the trip, and we each wore little blue skirt-suits, complete with white gloves, for plane departure and arrival. (We had sweatpants to change into, in the plane bathroom, for the flight itself.) The point is that a trip by plane was a big deal back then; you were supposed to look sharp for it.
That plane ride was a big deal for me. It was one of my first, my first without my parents, and perhaps most importantly, my first with my own camera.
And, amazingly, we flew above the clouds! I darted from row to row–the plane was practically empty – accumul(us)ating little oblong vista after vista, using up more than a roll of (very precious) Kodak film. I felt like I was getting a glimpse of what gods must wake to.
This is Manicddaily, a/k/a Karin Gustafson, to confess that I still get goofily excited with a camera while traveling, even just on a plane. The picture above, for example, is one I took of a plane window that reflected the movie some other passenger was watching. (If you look closely, you can just make out the film. Hint, it stars John Travolta, and his cute little suit is white.)
But this prompt is not about plane views or even specifically plane travel, but simply about trips.
“She was a trip.”
“Have a safe trip.”
“Careful, don’t trip.”
“We were really tripping, man.”
I ask myself what the different uses of the word have in common; each describes an experience that takes you from yourself, your normal groove, even your planned next step. And with that movement comes a change of perspective, a shifted window on life.
My hope (I haven’t written my own poem yet) is that this change of perspective creates a space where poetry might arise. This fits very well, by the way, with the old English use of “trip” by Milton and Shakespeare, in which it meant to dance nimbly. (As Milton wrote in his poem, Allegro, “Come, and trip it as you go, / On the light fantastick toe.”) (For those who have not yet figured out the John Travolta movie, this is a second hint.)
So, the prompt today is to write a poem arising out of the notion of a trip— whether to a far country, the corner store, the land of Napowrimo (where many of you have been traveling this month), or even just the surface (on your hands and knees) of a rutted parking lot. Your poem does not need to be about the journey itself; it can relate to something you saw while away or something you remembered about home; “trip” is simply a window to look out of. (It certainly does not need to be a plane window.)
For added inspiration, here are a few links to travel poems: Window, by Carl Sandberg; Evening Song by Sherwood Anderson, Cattails by Nicky Finney, Go Greyhound by Bob Hicok, Traveling Light, by Linda Pastan, Dark Matter, by Jack Myers. I love the flow of each and the way that travel – whether on a Greyhound bus, across five states by car carrying cattails, in search of love or work, or inexorably towards death–seems to sharpen a sense of what is both fragile and universal, funny and also tragic, in human experience.
So, happy trails, partners! Please be sure to travel over to your fellow poets’ blog and share their poetic trips. For those who are new to dVerse, here’s the way to hop onboard:
- Write ~ a poem stemming somehow from the idea of a trip, post it to your web page
- Link ~ by clicking on the Linky button below and entering the URL to your poem
- Read ~ pick some of the other linked poems to read
- Respond ~ leave your fellow travelers feedback, what did you like? what inspired you? Feel free also to use other social media to spread these flights of fancy of your own and others.