Wednesday, 8 June 2011

This Road, this life...

I wrote a poem a couple of years ago that shares its title with a film that was released in the same year that I conceived it (2009). Don't know why I told you that, but it just popped into my head! My poem does not pay homage to the film, which may have some parallels, but it is nonetheless about the road we travel through life, both literally and figuratively, by using the metaphor of the irrational behaviour of some drivers as having the potential for dire consequences, sometimes beyond mere 'road rage'.

Actually, it was originally called "Hog of the Road", because that is where I was most regularly observing the particular kind of human behaviour that I found most got under my skin; and which I know I had, from time to time in my life, exhibited myself!

It is primarily about driving and road hogs (as they used to be called), although it casts shadows over all areas of human life, but the strong analogy is with the effect of headstrong and aggressive people/drivers, who care not for other people/road users, only for their own goals, the rush of adrenalin caused by careless ambition; with the impatience, the arrogance, the selfish greed, the 'me' 'me' 'me'… Only trouble is, that behind the wheel of that lethal weapon, a motor car, this personality type can become an extreme danger to others.

It uses a sort of ‘close up and personal’ perspective to relate what is effectively a monologue, a commentary by an imagined driver, who has been fatally 'influenced' by just such a road hog, who in turn has driven off without noticing, or who has run away in blind ambition or fear, or simply failed to notice the fatal damage they had caused.

There is also an analogy with bullies: those of us, whose emotional baggage leaves us full of anger and resentment, which blinds a decent vision of humanity and the needs and rights of others.

An edgy moral tale, in other words... you can read the poem here.


  1. I very much enjoyed the poem, John..some of the lines are very beautiful and it really provokes thought. I often wonder what goes through the heads of the (mostly male) drivers who create such havoc for such seemingly trivial reasons - whether pride or the misguided desire to gain a few seconds...misguided because I find that you usually are right behind them at the next junction anyway! So pleased to have found your blog...especially in such a roundabout way! Talk of films makes me wonder whether you have seen the recent Martin Sheen movie 'The Way'? If not, then I think you would very much enjoy it...I recommend it anyway! Have a great day, Rachel

  2. Thanks Mozart's Girl. There is a part of the male psyche that is naturally competitive and therefore aggressive. It is ambition to be the best that causes us to buy unnecessarily expensive sporting cars and FUGS (Fat Ugly Gas Guzling Status symbols). In days of yore, it would have been the knight with the largest most powerful and speedy horse.

    I somehow, rightly or wrongly, view this as a sad reflection on a personality type, whose measure of importance and status is inversely proportional to character and integrity; that's not a rule but a guide.

    By the way I do notice a lot of aggressive young lady drivers these days. Perhaps this is a function of their increased competitiveness in their careers?


Don't leave without letting me know what this article made you think, how it made you feel ... good or bad, I'll take either.