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poems about the whys wherefores and enjoyment of travel

The Painted Ladies know

The Painted Ladies know

(On learning that butterflies migrate further than they can fly in a lifetime

and end up somewhere three lifetimes away)


We Painted Ladies knew ‘twas time for us to leave.

It’s too hot, and South Africa has no more food.

North? To cooler climes, but over the Sahara?

Flap-on family, flap-on to better places.


We’re too tired – stop – rest – eat – and lay our eggs.

Too tired to carry on. You carry on my son.

Which way? – North. Cooler air, over the Med to France.

The Alps aren’t so high that you can’t be blown over them.


I’m very tired, let’s rest. There are fresh green trees here.

I am too tired to carry on, I am sending you

As my parents sent me. Which way are we to go?

North over the English Channel to Great Britain.


What a welcome. We are only butterflies flying North.

But shouldn’t we all be heading back towards the South now?

Why did we come north? Not that I know where we came from.

And what is South anyway. And why are we asking why?


Jacb 24 Aug 2020 09 Jan 2021

The Spacecraft took off in 2065

The spacecraft took off from the earth in 2065


The earth’s climate had changed for the worse, beyond recognition

And we all agreed that earth was in a terminal decline.

To save the human race we had to explore the universe,

So we sent explorers to find a habitable planet.

A planet like the earth and that we could live in harmony with.


We couldn’t all go so who of us should go, which of us should we send?

Should it be a professor, a politician, or a banker?

Should it be half type A and half type B and half men and women?

It must be someone who can look after and fly a huge spacecraft,

And get on with the rest of the crew - and procreate in flight?


We don’t know who will be born to the crew and how bright they’ll be?

The crew will have to teach their young offspring all about the flight.

The next generation will have to be made to understand

How to command a spaceship; and how to clean and maintain it;

Also, where their antecedents came from, why they left earth?


But as time passes on this journey as they fly into space

As generation takes over from generation in flight

Will the captain’s son or daughter succeed as the next captain,

Will the engineer’s child inherit the role of engineer,

Or will they have a democratic election or exams?


But - what if the fifth generation born in deep space,

Lose all understanding of their journey in the spaceship.

Go back to the wild state and want to hang from the trees.

Just want to live in the herbarium and eat plants

And hug trees and swim with the fish in the aquarium.


What if in this wild state they lose purpose in it all,

Where they are going or when they will get there, or why?

Could they be taught by us from the ground by radio?

Would they listen to training sent up from mother earth

When there are hours of delay between send and receive?


More importantly, will they send back to us to say

“We have got here! - It’s an amazing place to come.”

Or perhaps they just won’t bother!


jacb Feb 2020

Wild Animal Think



The heat of the sun and the lack of water

Gets worse every year on year we survive.

The only reason we walk through the Tundra

Is our home has become no place to live.


We have to do it every year, like it or not.

Last year we went north; it is better we were told.

To the new forests planted by eco humans.

But we found it unwelcoming and far too cold.


Eco humans may want to save their cities

But too much life change they have to stifle.

We were seen as dangerous scavengers.

We were hounded by whip, trap and rifle.


Can we be brought into technology?

Or can we technology naturalize?

The population will self-limit or die,

With a natural planet of a fixed size.


The natural world depends on the climate.

They’re not yet clear what climate depends upon

Or what they are prepared to do about it,

So long as it doesn’t affect their way of life?


Our world depends on a well balanced climate.

But what is it that the climate depends on?

And what are they prepared to do about it,

So long as their present way of life goes on?





Walking in the countryside amongst the hills and trees.

On path and grass and gravel, the tension of life to ease.

I look to the horizon, I look at the shape and the form.

My mind looks for similes of the place where I was born.


A strange idea surfaces, crosses my mind oddly.

Is this a terrarium we’re in, are we weird pets for somebody?

But if the earth were not flat could there be a spherical terrarium

Would that be so very difficult or even impossible? – Humm!


I look closely for the glass wall and moulding marks on sheep.

Dig down to see the bottom but perhaps it is too deep.

I can’t see the terrariums roof, is it just too far away?

Or is it painted sky blue with rain controlled electronically?


So, is it us or them who the climate can seriously endanger?

Or can they, at the flick of a switch, everything change?

Can we alter the way we see things, the way we behave

And live as sentient beings, not someone’s strange pets in a cage!


Jacb June 2020 Jan 2021


The Importance of the Foreign Tour


Holidays are imperative, without them we lose out.

We would feel deprived of our right to travel and not work

And laze around doing nothing, asking staff to get drinks.

Living like a poor imitation of an oligarch.


But what is the attraction other than beach, sun and food,

And to put up with hard beds and staff who are very rude?

What is it we need on our demanded foreign travels,

That makes us spend so much money on insurance and clothes?


Oh! We have got to go and see it, it is on our bucket list.

We have to experience being ‘there’, even if smelly and hot,

Buildings built by the very rich to intimidate and impress,

Stained glass and paintings ‘adjusted’ to the desires of the patron.


But why do we have to stand and stare, and all around us look?

Can’t we see it on TV or read about it in a book?

Why do we have to ‘see’ everything in this world with our eyes

Why is our physical presence there so important to us?


Is the experience important to understand others’ lives?

By immersion in the sensation of colour, size, and smell,

We can feel how it disturbs our emotional well being

As an outsider trying to understand how others dwell.


Why is this building so beautiful, when we wouldn’t want it at home?

Is it the size, the shape, or the ‘over the top’ decoration?

Is ‘over the top’ a mason’s pride or part of the beauty?

All we know is it fills our field of view like no photograph can.


Can we know what it’s really like to live in this differ’nt place?

Since we’re all humans it can’t be difficult to understand.

Our emotional response gives an incomplete understanding

To the place’s social mores and It’s outlook on life.


Pass me the sun cream.


Jacb September 2020

The importance of the foreign tour



Taking days on a cruise

Spending hours on a train

Driving weeks in a camper

Or queuing for a plane.


A shared foreign voyage,

Is something very real,

Being with others on a journey

Adds to the way we feel.


Standing side by side in Italy

Reacting to the sight of Rome

Is infinitely better

Than a photo shared at home.

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