No World For Wanderers [Poem]

Our world was not built for wanderers
Though by some illusions it may seem so
For in every hill are pavement traces
Marked by yellow lines
Where long roads have grown

And through every valley are gashed twin scars
That trains track slowly through thick morning mist
And clouds born of steam engines drift upward
Leaving the blue expanse
subtle smoke kissed

Above, man-made birds fly by unflapped wings
Cutting white gashes in the atmosphere
And carrying us over unseen seas
To lofty heights
We not long ago feared

Still our barefoot soles beg for soil
Our roots sinking in red dirt with each pace
Our ankles held tightly in gravity’s grasp
Til we can’t imagine
Leaving this place

Wherever our roots grow long we build our homes
pressing foundations deep into the earth
with the light footfalls of sons and daughters
wayward hearts
resting before a shared hearth

Each day bends our backs further to the ground
Til our roots grow through our knees and our palms
Til we lay down in this dirt we call home
Buried in roses
And covered in psalms

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash


I wrote this poem based on the following prompt from pw.org!

Image or Detail – 3.2.21 – Rick Barot’s poem “The Wooden Overcoat,” published in the April 2012 issue of Poetry, begins: “It turns out there’s a difference between a detail / and an image.” Barot develops this train of thought and proceeds to engage in differentiating between the two, positing that a dandelion on the sidewalk is “mere detail,” but “the dandelion inked on a friend’s bicep / is an image because it moves when her body does.” Write a poem that sets up an argument in the first sentence and then proceed to test it through rhetorical devices and concrete imagery.

How can you use a poem to prove a thesis?

18 thoughts on “No World For Wanderers [Poem]

  1. Such a beautiful well written poem. I especially love
    “our barefoot soles beg for soil
    Our roots sinking in red dirt with each pace
    Our ankles held tightly in gravity’s grasp
    Til we can’t imagine
    Leaving this place”
    Do you still see steam trains? Lovely….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I’m glad you liked it 🙂 I was trying to visualize the process of “settling down” as though the very place we choose to settle grows within us as we grow into that place!

      I haven’t seen a steam train in a long time, but when I was younger I used to live by tracks and I never got any sleep because the train horns were always blaring 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You address the prompt head on showing all the ways our wandering strikes down, not out — every gesture of departure sets roots in some way. It’s an interesting and novel conceit and your images turn the mind well toward the depth of its breadth. The metrics are concise and the rhymes devious enough to reveal clappers in their bells (esp. “palms” and “psalms”). Thanks for sharing at earthweal, it belongs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As much as we want to explore and settle beautiful places, our pandemic future could be no more wandering. We could be forced to settle where we are for the foreseeable future. I’m lucky that I am happy where I live. .I love descriptive detail in the lines:
    ‘And through every valley are gashed twin scars
    That trains track slowly through thick morning mist
    And clouds born of steam engines drift upward
    Leaving the blue expanse
    subtle smoke kissed’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have some level of hope we’ll be able to wander again soon 🙂 Though it is certainly lucky you are happy where you live!

      I’m glad you liked the descriptive parts of these lines! I had a lot of fun writing them!!

      Liked by 1 person

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