I knew I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to make anything this week and you’d think that, given my not inconsiderable experience, I might have had the sense not to bother. The consequences are predictable: a frock disaster of about 6 on the Scale of Mishap: not insurmountable but enough to make me disheartened and not want to see it again for while. This has happened before and my reaction always takes me by surprise: I have a raging urge to achieve something good. To put things right in my head. Immediately. I don’t moon about staring into the middle distance.

So, here’s a poem about being homesick….The Small Boy is away with school and I hope he isn’t….homesick.




I left them digging at Nanjizal,

hunkered heads bent together, hair straggling into sand.

The repeating sliced rasp of spade

and their earnest conversation still in my head.

I stepped into the cold water

and walked deeper in,

weaving through smooth turtled rocks, sand soft-hissing in the tide.

At waist depth I held my breath and dived and felt the green-ice shock

chill my skin,

felt the water slip away like skeins of silk thread.

I swam into the ocean,

past the sand banks, their caked peaks drying in the sun

and out into deep water.

I’m swimming home.

Past wide surfing beaches, specks of black gliding and falling.

Past talons of rock and

green felted cliff tops and

quiet, unpeopled coves.

I left Cornwall behind and swam hard against the swell,

lifting and falling.

Miles of sea and coastline and then

Anglesey and on again to the half-brine,

brown, wide open Mersey.

I slipped into the industrial water of the Ship Canal

and felt small against tankers.

To Salford docks where

I stopped in the quiet water of a lagoon

and saw journalists and broadcasters and theatre-goers and tram users and

cranes suspended in inaction

and cleaned up for the tourists:

awkward and uncomfortable

like being alone at a party and wearing the wrong dress.


I didn’t know which way to go until

I heard the children’s thin-reed voices calling me back….


Filed under oddbods, poems, poetry

3 responses to “Homesick

  1. Had never heard of Nanjizal before – just had to look it up – so now I get the coincidence! Derrr. This is another very interesting poem. You are like a mermaid. I really feel the vulnerability of you against tankers, and the thought of you like a fish out of water on a beach is very evocative of homesickness. Clever girl! Hope Benbo had a good time away…Jxx

  2. The best way for a boy to be.Jxx

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