I have to say it, sad as it may seem,
To readers of this importune poem.
But my travelling days are over!
(Mes jours de déplacement plus de)
No more cheap wonky hotel rooms,
And luggage dragging, taxi honking,
Places that smell of something
Like I have never smelt before and never want to again.
Once I went through Sarawak,
Malaysian Borneo, down long grinding roads
Where monkeys danced attendance in the lay-by’s
And petrol stations were as rare as an extinct species.
Waiting at ferries for a slow crossing
Over some endless river, where logs and decomposing bodies
Were swept towards the South China Sea,
Nobody really giving a ‘hoot’ who died.
Life is so very cheap in these places,
But maybe I am old and tired
And too impatient to bear the foreign tongues
Which wag instructions to the weary traveller.
I wonder why the world don’t speak a common language –
Preferably English of course.
Forgive my French or Tagalog or Japanese!
But “nil comprehende” if you please!