Had I a year to idle thro’,
With cash to waste and no restriction,
I’d plan a programme to outdo
The wildest feats of travel fiction.
On steamship guides I’d slake my thirst,
And railway maps would make me wiser—
America consider’d first
To please the local advertiser.
O’er England and the Continent
I’d chart a course to shame the sages,
In each cathedral town intent
To catch the colour of the ages.
Paris and Rome I would not miss;
Without the Rhine I’d be no planner,
For one must make a jaunt like this
A Grand Tour in the ancient manner!
But Europe is a trifle trite,
So I would spare no pains in learning
How best to scan in casual flight
The East, where sheiks and sands are burning.
I’d look up ferries on the Nile,
And ’bus fares for the trip to Mecca;
Have chemists test in proper style
The drinking-fountain of Rebecca.
The route of ev’ry Tigris barge
I’d note, and find how much they’d ask us;
What good hotels in Bagdad charge,
And yellow taxis in Damascus.
And I would surely have on hand
The folders of that great excursion,
The Golden Road to Samarcand,
Thro’ Bahai bow’rs and gardens Persian.
Beyond, the Pullman rates I’d get
For Kiao-chan and Yokohama,
Arranging passage thro’ Thibet
To dally with the Dalai Lama.
In tropic isles I’d plan to stay
Till South Sea melodies would bore me,
And for the North Pole book a day,
Where only Peary went before me.
Thus might I scheme—till in the end
The year would slip away unheeded,
My money safe with me to spend,
And the wild outing scarcely needed!
DESCRIPTION: In his poem “A Year Off,” Lovecraft celebrates the power of imagination by envisioning a trip around the world so grand that the planning involved is more satisfying than the trip itself.
CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “A Year Off.” The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Edited by S. T. Joshi, Hippocampus Press, 2013, pp. 178-9.