lost landscapes

Well my time as poet in residence at the local TEDx event has been and gone. It was an interesting experience and did mean I had to actually produce some new poems.

I already had a lot of pieces that would have fitted the theme of home, but it wasn’t a question of reading old poems, but of creating newer pieces that documented the event and complemented the talks in some way.
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late home

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”.
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home and hearth

I’ve been thinking a lot about home recently. Not because I’ve gone all nostalgic, but because it’s the theme of the local TEDx, which is taking place in November.

It’s a great theme, as it offers a huge range of possibilities for talks. My immediate thoughts were quite domestic: houses, family, pets, neighbours…

But of course there are other connotations: home is about being safe. And there’s a definite emotional connection: it’s not just about being out of danger, but being comfortable with the language, the culture, the habits…
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you don’t know what you’ve got…

When I moved to Spain in the late Eighties, I still thought of the UK as my home. Having now, at least temporarily, ceased to have a permanent base in Spain, I seem to be in the opposite position. I don’t think I’ve ever really suffered with home-sickness, but there is always a hint of greener grass elsewhere. (Or, more realistically, greener grass in the UK and bluer skies in Spain, I suppose.)

olive grey leaves against a grey sky

I don’t know if the leaves in the picture are actually olive leaves – there were certainly no olives visible on the trees – but even set against the grey English sky they reminded me of the olivar I used to walk through to get to the pueblo and I had to stop to take a photo.
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going home

Madrid from the Casa de Campo
Many years ago I used to regularly read the Peanuts cartoon in the Sunday colour supplement; occasionally, I would cut one out and put it with other bits and pieces in a scrapbook. I remember the last panel of one of these cartoons showing a fairly despondent Snoopy saying, “Thomas Wolfe was right: you can’t go home again.”
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home thoughts

pebble-mosaic steps relleu

I’ve been in the south of Spain for a couple of days, and have been talking to other writers down here.

It’s natural to want to put other people into some kind of context, so I wasn’t surprised when, shortly after I met her, one woman asked me “Where is home?”

Without much thought, I answered, “Spain.”

Then that began to rankle. It simply didn’t feel like the right answer.

Home. It’s not simply where you live, is it? It has to do with family and friends and a sense of belonging.
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