Return Journey From Tralee
Solitary souls in a speeding tin can,
Together but alone at the mercy of a man
Who sits at the front with a wheel in his hand
And drives from town to town with every day a different band
Of wanderers and strangers and people seeking friends
Who look to the time when their journeys will end.
Most of them go alone in this moving box to spend
Their time and money in different towns, before leaving again.
Each has a different mission or a purpose in their mind
Or even just some place they must escape or leave behind
For a day or a few hours, any little while.
A rolling ship on wheels is for these ones a place to hide.
In the corner at the back, with his phone between his knees,
Sits a young man on his own texting the girl of his dreams.
His fingers slip and shoulders shake as he realises she
Can never really be his own, in spite of subtle pleas
Hidden in his messages and disguised by his skill
With words. He solemnly accepts that this girl never will
(or probably ever did) feel the same way about him.
He puts his phone is his pocket as the bus descends the steepest hill.
Three months later, again he sat amongst a silent crowd,
Although this time he saw his friends seated all around
The study hall, for once a scene bereft of sound.
His friend who sat in front of him passed a note on which he found
News about “the girl of his dreams”, the girl in Tralee.
She had moved on, he discovered. But deep down so had he.
Passing the note forward again he felt happy it would be
His best friend who would be with the girl, on her arm in January.
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