No going back

Out on the dream-dipped dawn-run road once more,
Alone, but less than lonely: stop to drink
A pot of supermarket tea; restore
The caffeine balance, shake off sleep, and think
About the life I’ve chosen, all that’s brought
Me to this place, at this ungodly hour –
Freewheeling, independent, never bought
But just for hire, beyond all corporate power.
And though I am not rich, still I possess
Great things unseen, more valuable than gold.
Long years have proved to me that more is less.
I do what’s asked of me, not as I’m told.
A hard and twisting path, rebuilt each day.
This is my road. I know no other way.


Last week I received a very tempting offer of full-time employment. I agonised over it before deciding to stay freelance: I couldn’t quite let the security of a regular payday win out over the freedom to walk, ride and leave my mobile phone switched off in the kitchen drawer. So, yesterday saw me hauling west to see some of my favourite clients as though nothing had happened. But on a subtle level, it clearly had, since I wrote this little affirmation to myself on the way. Freelancing isn’t for everyone, but it seems to be right for me. All is well. N.

8 thoughts on “No going back

    • Less travelled for a good reason, I think, John. Lots of perks to being freelance, of course, but it’s not an easy option, especially with a wife and growing daughter. I know several people in the same line of work as me who’ve tried going it alone and just found it impossible: they need the structure and security of an agency or company around them. Chacun a son gout, I guess. Me, I think the freedom is still worth the odd sleepless night and bout of gut-wrenching terror! Many thanks for your encouraging words. N.

    • Thanks Charles – I wouldn’t call what I do for a living ‘art’, but it definitely requires creativity, and that’s what keeps me doing it. And most of the poems I’ve posted here would never have happened had I not had the freedom to go out and find them. For that, if nothing else, I’m thankful. N.

  1. I love this poem Nick, an affirmation indeed! As you know, I tried freelancing for awhile, but it terrified me. I kept accepting more work that I could get done and working like crazy to get done anyway, and I decided, finally, that what you call terror, and rightly so, and gut wrenching in the poem was not for me. I admire you out on the road, though:
    Freewheeling, independent, never bought
    But just for hire, beyond all corporate power.
    On the cusp of retirement I am wondering what adventure that might bring. John assures me that there is life after work, but we’ll see. Great sonnet.

    • I would never tell anyone they ‘should’ work freelance: it’s a hard row to hoe sometimes, for sure. But there are compensations! And I know that life has something wonderful stored up for you, my friend: such a man and poet as you deserves the very best. Here’s hoping your adventure includes a trip over here some day..! N.

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