This poem was inspired by our recent holiday in Trancoso, Bahia in Brazil, watching other guests depart as we sat one morning at breakfast.
We saw them at breakfast,
Trying to sneak unwilling suitcases
Between the ferns and palms
Of paradise, if not lost,
Then slipping through their arms.
In their sad, reluctant eyes,
The sheepish look of the leavers,
Who knew that the remaining guests,
Having tried to do their best
Not to be smug, and sort of kind,
Had very similar thoughts in mind:
So glad it’s you and not us
About to get on that departing bus.
All week, we followed in their shoes.
We lazed on the same perfect shore,
Ate in the restaurants they did before,
Held our breath at the moonrise beneath
The same glittering stars,
And drank our caipis
In the same unhurried bars
As we typed the same bullet points,
Into our hand-welded phones,
Of how things would be different
Once we got back home.
We too dared the same reckless dream
At the end of each shining day.
What if we never went back
And just decided to stay?
But all too soon the morning comes
When we must haul our reluctant weight
To the impatient taxi at the gate,
Past the new arrivals savouring
Their first breakfast without fuss.
We are the leavers now,
Wishing we were them,
Wishing they were us.