Sunday 28 December 2014

⩚⩛ step off the pavement

when you walk around
it’s easy to spot the well trodden paths 
that people have made for themselves

they’re those worn-down patches in parks
 the ones that branch off and cut across the grass
 between the trees
a people’s hypotenuse

in Finland, I hear
when the city wants to pave some new pathways
 they send workers out right after fresh snow fall
 to see where people are walking

these are desire paths, or desire lines
 the natural behaviour among people 
that shows you where the optimal path 
should be

desire lines are any paths roads or routes
 officially acknowledged 
or not
that people exhibit a preference for

apparently after the Great Fire
 Christopher Wren tried to lay out the city in a regular grid
 but Londoners continued to walk along 
where the old winding streets had been
 using the old, unburned stone church-spires to navigate them
walking through the construction sites
 forcing the streets back to their old places

like ants we walk our preferred paths
 a trip to the newsagents
 the route to the office
 we probably go this way and that way without thinking
there's beauty in desire lines
expressions of collective will
indicators of the memory of repeated human actions
our own engravings upon the landscape

my experience of life has been 
that there is more to be discovered 
by stepping from the tarmac 
meandering off down a dusty track
 delighting in the possibility of liberation 
offered by these paths which appear year after year
a complete disregard to those official routes 
laid out by the parks department

one day you’ll be walking along 
and see those little trails of history criss-crossing the land 
and think 'that’s where someone followed their desire'


  1. What a beautiful post Dee. You have such a way with words.... Happy 2015 to you lovely :) xx

    1. aw thank you Jenny :-)
      happy new year to you and yours:
      must catch up soon!


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