The Permanent Way

It has been riding the tracks of my mind for some time now – and every time it chooses a track that I had not known. What is it about us (or me – if you want to excuse yourself from the ‘we’) that either refuses to look at nothing but the obvious or necessarily beyond the obvious? It chugs along..

A Permanent Way

Self-drivers may curse their luck,
Stuck on new-fangled trails,
But the good old train will jog
To the dogma of its rails,

And steam so straight ahead
That I cannot be led astray
By tempting scenes which occur
Along any permanent way.

Intriguing dales escape
Into hills of the shape I like,
Though, were I actually put
Where a foot-path leaves the pike

For some steep romantic spot,
I should ask what chance there is
Of at least a ten-dollar cheque
Or a family peck of a kiss:

But, forcibly held to my tracks,
I can safely relax and dream
Of a love and a livelihood
To fit that wood or stream;

And what could be greater fun,
Once one has chosen and paid,
Than the inexpensive delight
Of a choice one might have made?

~ Wystan Hugh Auden (1907 – 73)


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