On Visiting John O’Groats

(This poem was published in Northwords Now some time ago.)

It can take most of your life to see
the large car park at the end of the line.
There are no instructions on arrival.
You circulate widdershins and search

the large car park at the end of the line
for a space that suits your personality.
You circulate widdershins and search
a familiar face in the day-glow crowds

for a space that suits your personality.
Some of them are smiling and holding
a familiar face in the day-glow crowds.
How many coffee beans in the jar?

Some of them are smiling and holding
hands. It’s important to guess
how many coffee beans in the jar.
Green sunglasses are optional, reflective

hands. It’s important to guess
how many miles to Land’s End?
Green sunglasses are optional, reflective
blisters on the soles of your feet.

How many miles to Land’s End?
You might travel naked and grateful for
blisters on the soles of your feet.
It can take most of your life to see.

NB:- John O’Groats is a popular tourist destination in the UK. It is located on the north coast of Scotland and is wrongly believed by some people to be mainland Britain’s most northerly point.

Photo by the author

4 thoughts on “On Visiting John O’Groats

  1. An enjoyable read, Nikita, as always, layers under layers, thoughts behind thoughts. So hard to consistently reflect on one’s choices. Sometimes I conclude that my best decisions were the thoughtless ones. It’s easy to give in to cynicism, believe that suffering is a necessary prerequisite to any happiness (as my mother harshly taught me). Do you ever see? The Buddhists suggest asking yourself what will matter when you reach the true Land’s End. I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Steve, thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. Buddhists seem to believe suffering is inevitable. I think the pursuit of happiness is a distraction from the reality of self. Tourism is a manifestation of this modern obsession and has led to many problems in the world including climate change and the current pandemic. I think before capitalism people were less dissatisfied and more in tune with nature. But maybe that is my romantic delusion!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Self and no-self are concepts I haven’t quite got the hang of, although I’ve tried.

        I’d add that, although there is nothing wrong with a good photo, spending all your time when you’re faced with marvellous nature trying to get a selfie to send your friends probably doesn’t help.

        Liked by 1 person

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