Poem | Missing the Point

Original image Philipp Reichmuth (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

They are dragged up the hill like beads on a rosary, their guide droning, words buzzing in one ear, dripping from the other like honey, to make room for the three other sites they will visit today.

They want to look through glass, sit in comfort, with information shouted through a mike, like on the bus in Dublin.

Instead, they trudge with shiny shoes over springy grass, bespeckled with sheep droppings, to gaze at bumps on a hill.

They want interpretive centres, toilets, cafés and shops. They want a monument reconstructed, like Newgrange, something physical created for them which their own minds cannot build.

Stop; let the breeze which has blown over this grassy knoll for a thousand years lift your hair and whisper in your ear. Listen; it is rich with the voices of people past. They are glad you are here. Look; they lived lives great and humble here, your very feet tread where did theirs.

Open your heart; feel their joy, their sorrow, their courage. Open your mind; fear not and let them in, for they are fierce and true, and their land we borrow is more than old stones and leprechauns.

24 Comments on “Poem | Missing the Point

  1. Very good Ali. The last two paragraphs should be printed and handed out to all tourists as they arrive in Ireland. And then reminded again before they step off the coach. Of course this applies elsewhere as well but the past is easier to reach out and touch in Ireland.


  2. This was a beautiful read, Ali! More often than not, us tourists miss the point and forget to breathe it all in – the rich heritage, the hidden presence and those unhurried moments that are the most precious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right! But dont forget, I am a tourist myself. If you visit a place you dont live in, that makes you a tourist, right? Theres nothing wrong with that. Its the tours which drag people round 10 sites in a day, giving them enough time to pose for a pic while yelling facts at them, thats what I cant bear. Yet the tour companies say they give the tourists what they want. Chicken and egg. They leave after 10 days having ‘done Ireland’. Like you say, stop and breathe. It was a rant I guess. 😊 But glad you liked it, all the same!


    • Thank you Michelle! So do I. I dont know why, but the past fascinates me far more than the future. Maybe because, although its still so elusive, its real, whereas the future is possibility and potential.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this poem, Ali. I’m always conscious of walking in the steps of those who’ve gone before us and looking at the mountains and lakes from the same vantage point that they must have. Your poem really highlighted that.


  4. Beautiful and too true, Ali. When we were in Egypt, we frequently left our group to sit quietly and take in the millennia passing and the ghosts of the past.


  5. I’m a mix of preferences here; in some places the history is so complex, so subtle a guide can make all the difference and in others you are herded. The ideal is the personal guide who goes at your pace. So we’ll join Nick if we may and prevail on you…


  6. “they lived lives great and humble here, your very feet tread where did theirs”…What a wonderful line. That is the point; a great reminder for us all. Thanks, Ali ☺

    Liked by 2 people

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