I don’t know where I first came across this poem from the mid-twentieth century vagabond poet Don Blanding, but it’s been one of my favorites for years. It stirs the travel bug in all of us. Which one are you?
The Double Life
By Don Blanding
How very simple life would be
If only there were two of me
A Restless Me to drift and roam
A Quiet Me to stay at home.
A Searching One to find his fill
Of varied skies and newfound thrill
While sane and homely things are done
By the domestic Other One.
And that’s just where the trouble lies;
There is a Restless Me that cries
For chancy risks and changing scene,
For arctic blue and tropic green,
For deserts with their mystic spell,
For lusty fun and raising Hell
But shackled to that Restless Me
My Other Self rebelliously
Resists the frantic urge to move.
It seeks the old familiar groove
That habits make. It finds content
With hearth and home dear prisonment,
With candlelight and well loved books
And treasured loot in dusty nooks,
With puttering and garden things
And dreaming while a cricket sings
And all the while the Restless One
Insists on more exciting fun
It wants to go with every tide,
No matter where… just for the ride.
Like yowling cats the two selves brawl
Until I have no peace at all.
One eye turns to the forward track,
The other eye looks sadly back,
I’m getting wall-eyed from the strain,
(It’s tough to have an idle brain)
But One says “Stay” and One says “Go”
And One says “Yes,” and One says “no,”
And One Self wants a home and wife
And One Self craves the drifter’s life.
The Restless Fellow always wins
I wish my folks had made me twins.