This page has been blinking blankly at me for far too long.
Months in fact.
I haven’t published anything in almost 2 months, but not for a lack of wanting.
At the turn of the new year I started a new job, and since then I’ve been preparing to move house, which, incidentally, brings me here today, sitting in the base of a wardrobe, my laptop on my knee, surrounded by heaps of clothes, cardboard boxes, newspapered knick-knacks and overflowing files of loose papers. In the midst of packing up my life I clumsily overturned a box of old uni files and stumbled upon, of all things, the portfolio of papers produced during my third year module in Creative Writing.
Perhaps the last time I even put pen to paper in that particular form, and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. One poem in particular, struck an open nerve.
Since venturing into the big bad world of 9 to 5s I’ve found myself longing for home comforts more often. As part of my adventures across the Wirral, once a week I drive past the turn off to the Liverpool-Belfast boat, and every time a pang of heartache creeps up on me. Perhaps its the readjustment of my body clock that has launched the heartstrings towards home, moving out of the student lifestyle and back into the structure of early starts and regular bed times that I was more familiar with at school.
But there are other reasons, not least the recent family loss, but suddenly working with a new group of people who, unlike my LIPA Bar family, are fairly local, only an hour or less drive away from their family homes. I’ve never really felt the distance between here and home that much, now and then in the run up to a planned visit, occasionally on the cold Winter nights when I long for the warmth of the fireside and the dog at my feet, but now there’s a new world of things that I didn’t even know I was missing out on.
On the bus back from a meeting recently, a colleague of mine rang his mum to confirm dinner plans. Another colleague goes to Rugby matches with her dad on Friday nights. Another spends Friday nights with her sister, curling up on the sofa with a takeaway and a movie. Such trivial little things if you have them, but so far from home their impossibility throws a great shadow over my family life, or lack of. Occasional phone calls, emails, text messages, these are the trivial little things that I have. The thought of calling in for a cuppa on the way home from work or popping over for lunch on a Saturday, of taking my mum out for dinner in the middle of the week, just because… the thought has wandered into my mind again and again in recent weeks.
A wet weekend at home would probably cure me of all this yearning, but in the meantime I have my wonderful city of Liverpool and my wonderful Liverpool family to wrap myself up in, our little patchwork family of Cockney, Scouse, Midlands, Yorkshire, Scottish and Irish – most of whom I’m sure can relate to the tinge of homesickness that hits when you least suspect it. I know that it will pass, it will come and go, as it did during the stresses of my final year at Liverpool University when I scribbled this poem in the freezing second floor flat of my student digs on Upper Parliament Street.
The Wild Geese
We were the generation who shouldn’t need to fly the coop
The nest had been well feathered so we might never want
Yet here we are among the liver birds.
Our first steps were on the pavement cracks
A town built up from rubble
Bombed and rebuilt and bombed again.
There was little room to stretch our wings
Where red rage robins hopped on boundary lines
Forever plucking eyes.
Were we the generation who shouldn’t need to fly the coop?
There’s no space for us to perch on brown bottle bag curbs
Out of the nest and into the queue?
Those fledgling years spent staring at the sky
No boundaries caged us in across the great blue
And so we formed our V line east.
We found the space to soar
But not without the little tastes of home
Just enough to sweeten the sickness.
Homebirds in flights of freedom
Feathering nests of our own
Listening for calls that might come in the night.
And ever hoarding shiny coins
Saved for the price of flights
When our wings are broken.