Today is National Poetry Day, and the theme is home. This struck a particular chord with me this year, for a couple of reasons. The first is the fact that I have just returned home after almost three weeks on holiday. It felt like we had been away for ages, much longer than three weeks. This was mainly due to the fact that we were on a cruise to Alaska, and the atmosphere and experience were so unlike anything we'd previously experienced that we were able to observe and take in everything, make the most of every day and enjoy every minute.
The second reason I am particularly keen on the theme of home this year, and which also added to the overall experience and enjoyment of our trip, is the fact that the holiday was actually our honeymoon. Returning home, even though we already lived together, was almost as strange and unusual, fun and exciting as the trip itself. Entering our home for the first time as a married couple was as lovely and as significant as moving in together in the first place, and felt almost as important as the wedding and honeymoon. Although it was a return to a reality, it was a new and different reality.
I was also lucky enough to attend a National Poetry Day event today. Local poet Maria Jastrzebska was poet in residence at Pen To Paper, a wonderful, local shop selling all manner of pens, ink, paper, journals and notebooks. Maria had poems posted in the window and on the walls inside the shop, all on the subject of home. Visitors were invited to add their comments to a collection on what home means to them, and add their details to a spreadsheet of where people arrived in Brighton from. To cap this all off, every hour from 11 to 4, on the hour, Maria read poetry to the assembled masses. The icing on the cake was that Pen To Paper were celebrating their 10th anniversary as well as National Poetry Day. It was a lovely, creative and inspiring event.
Therefore, to mark today, I have attempted my own poem on the theme of home:
Home is us -
Returning on a BA flight
To a grey London lunchtime,
British accents, tube strikes,
Tea and pound coins
Resting heavy and strange
In hands now used to dollar bills.
Home is us -
Searching for a parking space
And entering our flat,
Our comfy sofa,
The space just for us,
Cooking our favourite meal
And opening a bottle of wine.
Home is us -
Searching stores for home-ware,
Photo albums and shiny toasters,
Coffee table books, fresh flowers
And holiday mementoes.
Making a flat a home,
Fit for a newly married couple.