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Where I'm From: a poem and a story

A few months ago, Easter Friday, I knelt down in my living room, wearing bright green flared trousers, trying to balance my phone against a pillow, which perched on a tripod, which stood as close to the corner of a wall as possible. The pillow kept slipping, my phone kept crashing to the floor, I kept giggling manically. It was like something out of Fawlty Towers.

I was also a little tipsy, which didn't help. I'd spent a few hours drinking rum punch in our friends' garden while their giant chocolate Lab pushed his big, slobbery snout against my leg, because he likes me I suppose (and I like him too).

I'll be honest, I needed the dutch courage. I was about to join an Instagram Live with the exceptionally talented and wonderful human, Alyson Shelton. She had asked me to take part in her poetry project called Where I'm From by writing my own poem and then sharing it live for whoever wanted to watch and listen. Yikes.

Writing poetry is one of the ways I muddle through my feelings. It is cathartic, therapeutic, and personal. So very very personal. Sharing this poem felt like a big deal, but honestly, reciting it on Instagram felt empowering and joyful.

So I want to share it here because I'm proud of it. This poem is a little bit of me and my story. At the time of writing this, almost 100 humans have shared their poems as part of Alyson's Where I'm From project. You can find them all on her website.

Where I’m From

I’m from far away

a rainbow nation made

of scattered pieces

from a world so scarred

and shimmering

its beauty unbarred

and heartbreaking

a joy so bountiful,


From the wild African sun

igniting life without peace

bathing silky blue hydrangeas

warm rosy-cheeked embraces

from a land as green as envy

dusty roads and memories

of doorstep samosas

and backyard slip and slides

big smiles, bright eyes, dancing

in a one story house where

love survived.

Simmering on stoves

sweet milk and cinnamon

sizzling over fire

salty boeries, soft bellies

bathed in sunshine, surrounded

by our complicated history.

I’m from determined curiosity

the strength to say goodbye

to find another life

on ancient land, soft yellow sand

Mr Whippys and mushy peas

come for dinner not tea

road trips through history

past crumbling castles and

road signs short of vowels

thread by grassy thread

we wove ourselves

into this place

we call home.

I’m from all over

my love language exists

in distance, reminiscent

of fond hearts finding their way

a love so stubborn, unshakeable

skimming oceans and time

crossing bridges and dewy skies

existing quietly, by your side

in between your day to day

like hey,

I’m still here don’t worry.

I’m from pride and joy

be anything you want to be

see everything you need to see

then come home, for tea

for Canasta and crunchies

for pub lunch and TV

for belly laughs and

puppy cuddles and

the soft ebb of a cold sea.

And so, for ten year old me

watching her world change

afraid, unable to see

the forest for the trees

I wish I could say

you’re from love, it’s okay

listen to your mother

when she says

we’ll never have nothing

if we have each other.

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