Wednesday 1 July 2015

Walking is rare and extraordinary ~ Emma Rich

after in Praise of Walking by Thomas A. Clark

Walking is an expedition.
I wear sensible shoes. I travel light. 

My purse-bearer is polite and courteous, with old-fashioned manners.
He guides my left arm – the stiff one – into the sleeve of my coat.
He opens the door.  Like the Baptist he goes ahead, prepares my way.

I resist all temptation.  I do not open the post. 
But I do pause, look out at the view.  
It is a Claude Lorraine painting.

I would like to wander in this landscape. 
How lovely it would be to meander through Arcadia,
to stop awhile, chat with shepherds
and climb up into the mountains.

The project in hand is this walk.   
I must decline all alternatives.

I pick up my sticks. 
My palms are perfectly adjusted
to the paddle handles, through long use.

I am down the steps. 
There are primroses; a solitary daffodil has speared the earth. 
They do not take me out of my way. 
I do not digress.

(I dare not discover along the way,
though it would be an excellent thing).

I never take a wrong turning. I never double back.
Oh, the luxury of being lost.

My neighbours are out. The road is quiet.
No witnesses. This is private with the potential for humiliation.

Only he, who drives Miss Sophia, knows about my daily war
of attrition - the fight for independence.

Walking is not
ordinary, unexceptional, just what I do. 
It’s a kind of statement: that I am an expert at walking,
over the shortest possible distance

~ Emma Rich ~
published in Fit for Work


  1. An excellent text to go with a lovely landscape. "There are primroses; a solitary daffodil has speared the earth" and I'm away with you!

    1. Thank you. This was the first poem I published as an adult.