late home

snail on dead flower head

It’s way later than I usually write the blog, but I’ve been out all day at a rehearsal for the local TEDx, which is coming up in a fortnight’s time and at which I’ll be reading – or perhaps performing – some poetry.

I won’t go into the details of what I’ll be doing, as I guess I will write about it all after the event (or not), but all the talks and performances are vaguely connected to and around the theme of the event, which is “home”.

It’s a subject that appeals to me as I’ve spent almost half my life living away from the UK, where I was born; most of my poems have a strong sense of place and many touch on connected themes, such as alienation, homesickness and disaffection.

I chose the top photo as the snail is so well camouflaged that it would be easy to think it was his natural habitat; I wonder, though, how long he will be comfortable.

The poem that follows is an old one, written in the days before email, when letters from and to home were threads that kept you bound together despite the distances.

Room with a View

Here! Come over by the window, let me show you
things; look up and over there, see how the sooty smoke
from factory chimneys swirls and climbs
to join the clouds. And over there, how the sun’s last rays
melt terracotta bricks and set their tints adrift to paint the sky.

Now, grasp the window frame – feel the splintering wood
and paint flakes, but hold tight – you’ll need to stand
on tiptoe and I’ll push the window wide; lean, now,
and look down to your right: on, past the travel agent’s, can you see
that pool of green that peeps between grey walls?

I go there sometimes, tread the perimeter
of my three square yards of park; I touch the scaling bark
of that one London plane. Some days, I take a book
and read, or write a letter to my mother,
sitting on the grass.

rusted café table and chairs

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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