Interruption to a Journey

Interruption to a Journey, by Norman MacCaig

I have this wonderful old slim hardback book, found secondhand at Powell’s Books and purchased for its relative antiquity, its cover-pattern, and the poet’s name—remembered, I think, from reading Robert Macfarlane.

Until recently, I read most of it without understanding more than a green flash here and there of sun on water. Pádraig Ó Tuama was on Encountering Silence the other day, where in talking about reading poems, he said “you don’t have to understand everything”—and I thought about reading MacCaig for the first time.

Most of my flashes were not whole poems. Interruption to a Journey is the exception. This one flashed up whole and stunned me completely, so I felt just the tiniest bit like the poor hare in the poem’s first stanza. I survived, the poem bouncing inside my brain until I memorized it. Now it can haunt me properly.

Interruption to a Journey is the second (if you don’t count Warning), in a year-long series of twice-monthly memorized poems. Some of these poems are part of me already; more will be newYou can suggest poems, comment on them, or take issue with my recitation (be kind; I’m new at this) here in the comments or by emailing me directly. 

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with a friend. I can always use more poem suggestions.

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