Short Poem: ‘The Hitchhiker’

Sometimes you’d sell your soul just to get warm! –
Your clothes are rags in the wind, your skin goes blue,
You doubt your mouth can ever smile again;
The lonely world grows dark before the storm
Whose icy rain’s a mile away… and then,
The sun breaks through!

I used to do a lot of hitchhiking – 25,000 miles is my best estimate, on five continents. It can be miserable, it can be ecstatic, but as a way of exploring the world without plans and preconceptions, it’s hard to beat. It used to be safe, then it became unsafe, but now it’s probably safe again – if you send a picture of the vehicle from your cell phone before you get in. Or if you live on an island with no public transportation, where everyone seems to know everyone and it’s just common courtesy to give people a ride.

The poem was published in the now-defunct Candelabrum, a twice-yearly British publication that championed traditional verse through the darkest days of “free verse” from 1970 to 2010. The magazine has ceased publication, but thank goodness the sun has broken through again!

“Winter Road” by ryanmcgilchrist is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

2 thoughts on “Short Poem: ‘The Hitchhiker’

  1. Joe Crocker

    I didn’t learn to drive until my early 30s. I hitched everywhere. Never occurred to me to check a train or bus timetable. Hitching was often the best part of the trip. The worry, hope and triumph. That huge sense of achievement. And the craft, knowing how to hitch well, how to avoid lonely slip roads, how to get dropped off somewhere decent. The people. Often little old ladies on their own with grandsons who also hitched. The odd unwholesome oddity.

    Then it all pretty much stopped. I think with the young saving the planet and rejecting petrol and diesel there should be more scope again for car sharing and hitching. There ought to be an app (lets call it “ThumbsUp”) that people can use to register lifts and lift givers.

    Has anyone written a book about hitching?

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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