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Poetry of Place No 1

Poetry of Place

Think back. Think about a place you have felt really comfortable. Think about a place you may have called home.

A cluster of clouds in Cancun, reminded me of when I was boy and would lie on my back in our backyard and stare up at the sky... 




Goerge Ella Lyom responded to this challenge when writing:

Where I'm From

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I'm from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures, 
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams. 
I am from those moments--
snapped before I budded --
leaf-fall from the family tree.



Sometimes, looking at a photograph can spark a memory of place. Maybe it's a photograph of somewhere you have visited. Collect some landscape photos (calendars, magazines). Pictures that make a special connection for you.. Cast your eye all around the scene. Notice every detail, no matter how small. Look for a place within the picture that reminds you of somewhere that has a familiar feel to it.
Link your feelings to the images. The emotional landscape of your life is important in this writing challenge. Consider both your silly and your serious side. 
How might you begin? Some possibilities to ponder.
'I come from...'
'I am part of...'
'I am the...'

A photograph I took of a fire escape in New York, and a conversation I had with a friend (New York born and bred), inspired this notebook poem.




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Stood tall like a palace guard
Marking time in Nana's lounge-room
Against the wall
Avoiding the sunlight streaming through lace curtained windows
Tick-tocking as the pendulum swung in its unerring arc
Brass and chains and moving arms 
Encased behind a long glass face
The clock announced the passing of each hour
With blare and boom
The rowdy ringing out
Chased the silence from the room
Why so loud? the small ones asked
Why so tall? the small ones wondered
They kept their distance
Time moved on relentlessl…