My Home

Home is not a place.
Home is a time.
Home is that time of the night
Where you can feel the whole world breathing
And the darkness is vast
And smooths the creases in the daylight world;
Softens the noises.
We are all the same place in darkness.

Or

Home is not a place.
Home is a person.
Home is sitting on a sofa in the twilight
With my brother, discussing Doctor Who.
Home was where he hugged me in the playground
When a teacher was mean, and we were small.
Home is when I see him again.

And

Home is not a place
Home is a person
Home is sitting in the passenger seat of my mum’s car
Putting the world to rights as she drives us… wherever.
Home was when she took us to the library van
Or picked us up from school.
Home is whenever I can call my mum.

And

Home is not a place
Home is a person
Home is holding my dad’s hand through the streets of Oslo.
Home is when he took me sledging, with my toes packed into boots.
Home is when he came to see me when I was grieving,
And called me his little one again.
Home is whenever we can catch up.

And

Home is not a place
Home is a person
Home is my partner’s eyes when he’s excited;
Home is in the gentleness of our evenings, in the quiet times, and the endless hugs.
Home is the starlight that we share in our hearts
And the promises and welcome that we hold.
Home is whenever we are together.

And

Home is yet more people.
Home is my cat, the best cat in the world, who sometimes still feels nearby.
Home is the bright-bedecked crowd that I dance with.
Home is the childhood friends that still love me.
Home is wherever I can give my old teddy bear a hug.

Home is my Nan and my Grandpa,
And the deeply kind magic they create.
Home is my Grandma
No-nonsense, in blouses, who might take the world on and win.
Home is my Grandpa
And the memory boardgames, and tomatoes in a sunny garden.

The best thing is, my home is not fractured.
My home is unnumbered and abounding.

A Stranger in the Forest of Lights

I simply do not know this forest
Well enough to tell this story;
I claim what a stranger sees.
I see woods bedecked in glory.

If I were in Celtic lands,
I would know the words I’d use.
Sprite and glamour, fairy ring,
Will o’wisp and changeling,
But here it’s I who, stripped of lore,
Wanders guideless o’er mossy floors.
Like a story where the hero
Stumbles heedless into peril
Or ignorant of blessings given
To some strife is needless driven…

Perhaps all our myths are echoes
Chasing tails around the globe
And I should remember fables
Learnt around a childhood table
Else I come to some fae harm,
Or led away by twilight charm
Are lost amid the spirits here.
The dancing fire, the shadow boughs
Might close around me and the lights
Would ever bewitch my sleepless nights.

Or – perhaps they are a kindness.
Good fortune or a consecration,
Blessing all the leaves they touch
As well as I who gaze upon such
beauty. Maybe they will grant me
Happiness to bear away
And sprinkle brightly on my life,
So it might resemble woodland
In the dance of fireflies.
Perhaps to stray here would be wise.

Or maybe yet, a bunch of insects
Nothing more remarkable,
Apart from how they dress the night
And tumble through the forest’s heights
And form a second canopy
Of drifting, dancing artistry.
And if, perhaps, that’s all they are
I’ll take this moment happily;
Linger with them in the green
And play my quiet part in this lovely scene.

I simply do not know this forest
Well enough to tell this tale.
But either way, conclusion pending,
…I think I will stay awhile.

A Nearly Perfect Day

A stretch,
And a yaaaaaaaaaaaawn.
And bright sunlight streaming through windows.
I sit up.
Alone.
It’s a perfect day for walking.
And that feels sad.

Leap!

When it’s night-time
And I’m all alone
I don’t walk.
I hop, skip,                   LEAP!
Land on a turn –
My coat swinging out behind me.

I run down the hills,
Like I ran when I was small
And the world could not catch me
And if I fell  …I flew

And on the grassy spaces I can spin!
And spin and uᴉds and spin,
Until I stumble on shadows
And sit down laughing.

People have crossed the street to avoid me
But that’s okay – more room to dance.

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Catch-up poem from prompt twenty.
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A Short Self-Portrait in Earth

My bare toes, like roots, dig into soft peat
And I have caught music in the brass bound to my bones.
I have let cold chalk waters run through my fingers and wind into my clothes.

I have picked up quartz from the mountaintop
And stained my ragged trainers red on western clay.
I do not know what land I’ll steep in next, but I know I’ll meet that earth in happy days.

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Catch-up poem from prompt nineteen.
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Winter

The crows were paper cut-outs against the light,
The tree an ink spill.
Their voices cut-out voices as they took their flight
Whilst the birds in the hedgerow trailed watercolours.

The endless clouds were writer’s block,
Dampness eating through the page,
And at the skyline, bleeding up,
The church towers leaked villages.

In shattered fields, between the trees,
Beneath the troubled sky,
Barley was vivid only as a memory.
And the frost built sparkling sculptures too ephemeral.

Dreams

Just be still, and listen.
You might hear the creeping dreams.
The laughter of a restaurant,
The singing of moonbeams.
The beating of some great white wings
The lapping of the sea,
The dancing feet of festivals
The voice of you or me.

The whispering of fairies,
The wisdom of a bee
Returned from some great traveling
A honeyed odyssey.
The creak of wood
From boats bound out
To an orchard isle
The rain that should
Fall on your hood
If you were not to smile.

Listen for the sunset,
It has a distant roar
Or better yet the sunrise –
More like a gentle snore.
Listen for the cloud-borne host
As they weave their storms
Or listen to the softling sounds
Of the duvet, as it warms
The air around your drowsy
ears, and lets your dreams perform.

Closing Time

It’s five o’clock.
Closing time.
Yes, I’m afraid so.
Yes, we are open tomorrow from ten.
Thank you.
Good evening.
Cl-lick.
The lock settles into place in the door.
Behind me, I hear the library rustle.
Back to work.

The audio books are first to emerge,
Oozing out across the floor like mollusks.
I scatter handfuls of earbuds for them in the corner.
And herd one back in place with a broom.

The children’s picture books can cause havoc.
Their great wingspan and excitable nature
Can have them up on the ceiling in minutes.
If you’re not careful. Luckily, I’m trained.

The non-fiction section settle ponderously on the tables
Like owls. They don’t need much, but they startle easily.
I move slowly, and give one or two of the friendlier tomes
A scratch behind the wipe-clean cover.

The languages are noisy. No way around that.
Like parakeets, they have a lot to say and
They’re not shy about saying it. I shake the box of vowels,
and fend off a greedy dictionary. He’s already been fed.

The tech books drape themselves protectively
Over the public PCs. They’ve been doing this a lot recently.
I think they don’t like the new antivirus. I keep meaning to contact IT.
At least they’re not fighting the public again. Yet.

We will not talk about the Mills & Boon display.
Especially not – especially not – the large print editions.
And large-print is usually so well-behaved.
It’s usually best just to leave out lots of water.

The fiction… I sigh. The fiction is the most chaotic.
A great flapping mass of shelves as they
Compete for nesting space. The lonely copies
On the shelving trolley cooing, mournfully.

I shouldn’t complain. The fact that they’re out for me
Is something of a compliment. Books like library staff,
Of course, generally speaking. But they do wait until there
Aren’t many people near at all to really come alive.

It would be nice to watch them settle,
Just take a seat and be here, safe in the susurrus.
But it’s time for the worst job in the library day.
I go and fetch a shovel to muck out the reviews.

Repotting

I dig my fingers deep into the soil, and it’s soft as a new blanket.
I gather handfuls, tickling as it tumbles away from the edges of my grip.
I pat it down, and like a living body something deep beneath the surface is already warm. It pushes against my palms. Inhales, as I move them away.
And then the sapling.
The soil coats my fingertips in grit, but still the young bark feels like metal.
And when I pinch the base, there’s the curious sensation of depth and strength. Radiating through the roots and sturdy stem, through my fingers, up my arm. I feel my tree’s kindred with the earth.
I tug, and of course the soil comes too. The lightness in the pot is immediate, the emptiness of a hand with heavy bags left in the hall. It feels like plastic again. Some days it had been heavy as rock.
Lift. Suddenly the sapling is comically unbalanced, yet the wind catches the leaves like a sail and I feel the whole uncertain body strain.
New pot. New home. More soft soil. Until the tree is surrounded. I run my fingers across the diameter, to feel the rough and aged earth enrobed in velvet.
I think I feel my sapling breathe a sigh of relief.

A Paint of Lights

To the trees
The human speed
Upon the road
Was a million moments
Fragmented and rebound.

All the cars,
A paint of lights
Upon the air
In flickering nights
And clinging trails of oils.

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