Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Travelling light

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I am travelling light, said the knapsack man,
I have all my needs in my pack:
One clean shirt
(Beware of dirt),
Old teddy-bear
Since childhood there,
My rabbit’s foot, a lucky find,
My bible, best bits underlined;
These, my essential muster,
Are securely strapped to my back.

I am travelling light, said the wandering woman,
I have hands, eyes, memory
To gather, let fall
Shell, curlew call,
Fish, fossil, flower,
The day, the hour.
I comb the beach, I comb the earth;
One lesson I have learnt of worth ―
That pebbles lose their lustre
Unless daily washed by the sea.

The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983