‘I’m still getting there’ Refugee Week, 2020

A poem by many voices on the theme of ‘home’, for Refugee Week, 2020.

Words and ideas donated by: Christina Thatcher, Cheryl Lockheart, Roz Goddard, Jasmine Gardosi, Mark Antony Owen, K.S. Moore, Sam Frankie Fox, John Hawkhead, Adam Ai,  Rick Dove, Sue Wood, Jhilmil Breckenridge, Casey Bailey, Djuna Barnes, Shaun Hill, Marvin Thompson, Efi Antoniou, Victoria Richards, Johnny Autin, Shelley Eva Haden, Hannah Storm, Katria Naomi, Jean Atkin, Jason Jackson, Sophie Herxheimer, Naaman Brown, Gill McEvoy, Laura McKee, Sarah Westcott, Rishi Dastidar, Shan Bansil, Andrew Morton, Kathy Gee, Lucy Jeynes, Gail Saul, Katie Whitmore (Katie Hook), Tara Skurtu, Bo Mandeville. Kathy Gee. Edited, by Helen Calcutt. 

A poem by many voices on the theme of ‘home’, for Refugee Week, 2020. Donated to the charity Refugee Rescue. 

I’m still getting there

I dream of open doors. 
Curled up cats. A blue 
china bowl. 
Perhaps I’ve 
forgotten 
what home really is?
A castle where unhappiness 
or happiness 
lives, 
     a   bed        
                    I... 
love,
unzip, 
sleep,
where the heart might 
grow, and go,
beyond words
I long for it.   
The slow train west 
into honeyed light,
respite...
and I wonder,      
is home a moment 
in time?  Toast, 
ashes, earth 
– a kiss. Freshly baked 
bread, the valleys
and their flowers? 
Perhaps it's feeling
not a space. Safety or 
freedom, 
or something we’ve lost? 
Perhaps it’s a concept 
I have to work on?  
Where ideas 
proliferate 
on a good-natured 
floor; in a kitchen, or
on a table-top. 
A mantelpiece that gathers 
dust.
Where my daydreams 
shine, and there’s a key. 
And I can open and close
and come and go...
Last night 
I walked across the Indian Ocean.
I walked barefoot in the freezing 
cold  –
sleeping under the cries of 
Roller birds, 
dreaming of words 
such as ‘scarf’, and ‘coat.  
You might tell me 
home is a ‘nest’. Or a rubik's 
cube we're all trying 
to work out;
as I forever approach 
its finite distance, forever 
journey 
towards a finite smile.
What if home 
is simply 
wherever I stand? 
What if home, is 
wherever I stand, with love? 
Wherever others stand with me? 
You have asked me:
 ‘what is home?’
I don't know. I’m still getting there.

About Refugee Rescue

Refugee Rescue is the last remaining Search and Rescue Boat Working off the North Shore of Lesvos. We have a skilled crew on call 24/7 and ready to respond to any distress call at sea. They work directly one sea and land to attend to the immediate needs of those refugees making the crossing into Europe.

To support Refugee rescue:

Visit their website, and engage with their stories, artwork, and testimonials: https://www.refugeerescue.org/

Donate, and keep Mo Chara afloat: https://www.refugeerescue.org/donate

About the process

I couldn’t take every single sentence organically and fit it together. This isn’t how editing works! Although this is how the process began; even with our own, single-voiced poems, we re-align, mesh, swap, mould, take in, put back…it was the same process here, only, I was very aware that I was working with other people’s words and sentiments, and therefore had to stay true to them.

I did this, either by keeping the line intact, or, bringing two similar sentiments or images together into one place (perhaps using another word from another sentence that fitted to combine them) and moulding them together.

There were also some lines or words that simply didn’t fit, but, whose ideas are still reflected here, in a way that serves the sound and energy of the poem. Don’t be disheartened if your donated sentenced doesn’t appear exactly as written here: know that I deliberated carefully over each and every line, and that the texture of your words remains within the overall fabric of the poem.

Thank you once again to absolutely everyone who has donated their time and creativity to this project. It’s been a blessing.

Take care, and stay in touch. Hopefully we’ll all see each other soon.

Helen x

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