|Popiltah Lake, Western NSW|
They could forever travel far away,
See cities, towns and countries, go places,
Hide themselves behind pretexts, never stay
Put, or throw themselves into rat races.
They could forever more pretend delight,
Give parties and still chitchat, smile at friends
And greet people, declare that they’re alright,
Say the right words, nod and wave, make amends,
Never wake up, forever stay asleep,
Deny the dreadful nightmare, this new life;
Decide that never again should they weep.
Yet they feel this great pain, it’s sharp like a knife;
They can’t strip off this sadness or their grief.
Their daughter’s dead: they someway didn't survive.
The first draft of this sonnet I wrote while we were on a two-month round-the-world journey we did in late 2010 and early 2011. It was a journey we had been planning since well before 2009, and I was adamant that we still had to go ahead with the idea, we had to travel around the world for Clea.
The poem has changed a fair bit since the first draft. Originally I used the first person, and some rhymes in the last two tercets were not that great (or so I thought). I like it as it is now, and I hope the reader can also appreciate the poetry.
We have recently completed another journey; this time it was a road trip, which covered almost 3,000 km and took us to the eastern edge of the uninhabited part of Australia, where the desert begins, the point where one could start walking into the wilderness and would not see anyone for weeks (if you could survive, of course).
As I gazed into the vast Mundi Mundi Plains, one small stretch of the immense dry core of the Australian continent, a thought occurred to me: I could have gone in there on my own, and I would not have felt alone or lonely; not one bit. Sometimes one may feel more lonely when in company.
There is something about travelling that makes this new life more digestible, something of a relief valve one can resort to whenever it is needed. Some friends, who lost their daughter to a moronic car thief being chased by police, own a car that they call the Escape Pod, the E-Pod. I like the idea of an E-Pod. I understand it.