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Finding Home

January 11, 2006

i

my white shoes looked like a baby’s,
high topped leather, scuffed
they provided a sturdy anchor
for metal braces
burning along my thighs
their steel stays
prevented my knees from
bending and so

the houses of early memory
are filled with stairs about to be climbed
and encounters with gravity,
with slippery steps up to the front door,
wet mittens sticking to the wrought iron railings,
front doors opening onto stairwells,
interior rooms joining hallways
which are – inevitably – joined by stairs,

stairwells with unevenly worn steps,
wood steps up, cement steps down,
stairs with no rails at all,
circular stairs of triangular wedges
each too small for secure footing,

long stairs without a landing to rest on,
stairs to tumble down
with loudest banging,
the noise as terrifying
as the spinning view, as the fall
and the sudden stop.

ii

in my house green leaves grow
along the windows
and swirling in a teapot made by my hands
are tea leaves from around the world
that I earned by singing
and on the walls are flowers that always bloom
cast in brilliant paint
by my daughter
and photographs of my lover
dancing the wild white river waves

in my house music flows, and poetry, politics,
debate, silliness, laughter,
love of nature, waste
the lovely and the profane
in every room collecting
and colliding
dust, the dust
of our boots
of trails brought home
of books, skin, dog hair,
the detritus of life

each room of this
hundred year old house
collects ephemera –
knowing caresses
under the comforter,
dreams of spiders,
and stray eyelashes—
we shed our bodies and
dreams and memories
as we somersault
through our lives.

iii

I am a stranger
even among those I know well
a part reserved, a part apart,
looking for secure footing –
knocked loose
or loosely tethered
subject to extreme gravity
centrifugal force –
circling
looking for something lost
something remembered
something once left behind

sometimes in a song
in a forest
in a poem
while making love,
something deep within moves –
odd, riverine,
flowing and vast,
inhabitable –

a strange, unfamiliar
luminescence,
wholly recognizable as
home.


Written by MB Whitaker of
Find Me a Bluebird.

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  1. January 11, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    Wow. I reread that one about 20 times. Some great poetry there, I hear music inside it.

    Cal

  2. January 12, 2006 at 6:44 am

    I’m sure I have read this before????

    If not then it is so true it just sounds like home. If so, thank you thank you for the chance to read this stunning poem again. You write so much like music!

    Just read the first comment, so I am not alone in hearing the music in your words!

  3. January 12, 2006 at 11:12 am

    It’s beautiful. Thank you.

    (So’s your blog, btw, which I didn’t know at all before…)

  4. rdl
    January 12, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    Beautiful poem, really lovely.

  5. January 12, 2006 at 2:15 pm

    I am so glad to see this poem bursting with song here. From the jarring and memorable image of the braces you wore as a baby to the home you now have in the hundred year old house with children of your own, it’s span is as extensive as its recounting of a life, your life. You bring us so close inside I held my breath. xo

  6. January 12, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    Glad to see this poem again. :-)

  7. January 12, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    This is wonderful. The first part feels like a nightmare, the second like a content reality, the third a dream, somewhat disoriented, with echoes of each of the preceding.

  8. January 12, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    That final stanza slays me.

  9. January 12, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    So happy to see this wonderful poem here.

  10. January 13, 2006 at 3:19 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed this in draft form. Now, it’s been polished and shines even more, in its evolution to painting the landscape of your life so vividly here. Each time I read this, a flood of emotions erupts or bubbles, like the passages of your life. Excellent piece. It still lingers long after I read it, which is marker to me. Congratulations for its publication here!

  11. January 13, 2006 at 5:36 am

    I just don’t have the words to express how beautiful and vibrant your poem is so I’ll just echo what they all said.

  12. January 13, 2006 at 5:49 am

    Wonderful poem, mb – and I’m so happy to see your work here!

  13. MB
    January 13, 2006 at 9:22 am

    Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments and warm reception. This poem has gone through a few transformations since a fast and loose first draft, and Lorianne’s and Tom’s suggestions helped spur me to take it the final distance. Thanks to all!

  14. January 16, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    MB- with your usual scope and lyricism, and a few “words of the day” thrown in for spice, you’ve crafted a poem which merits careful and repeated viewings.

    Garnet

  15. Anonymous
    January 17, 2006 at 9:06 am

    Isn’t that luminescence always recognizable as our true home? From there. Going there. Always been there. Never left.

  16. MB
    January 17, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    Garnet, did I throw in some words of the day? I suppose I can’t help myself. Thank you for your kind words.

    To the one who didn’t leave a name: Yes. But I think many of us frequently lose sense of it.

  17. January 19, 2006 at 12:35 pm

    Oh, yes, that is beautiful. Congratulations — it doesn’t sound to me nearly so much like you found home, as that you made it. For yourself and others.

  18. MB
    January 20, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    Dale, thank you. This poem is an attempt through triangulation to suggest multiple senses of home, the kinds we can make as well as those that I’m not as sure that we can make – but we can search for and lose our connection to any of them, even those made.

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