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The Scrivener: Home Thoughts

Brian Barratt, a man with Roma blood in his veins, an adventuresome soul who has lived on three continents, muses poetically on a big question: Where is my home.?

For more of Brian’s joyously readable words please click on The Scrivener in the menu on this page.

For lots more intellectual fun please visit his Web site The Brain Rummager www.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas/

They ask, where is your home?
How long since you were there?

Where is my home? It is near a river,
The Trent, which flows aside a castle wall,
Just one wall standing, damned by Cromwell.
A cobbled marketplace, where merchants would deliver
The produce of the earth at each beguiling stall,
A great church standing, stone, to point away from Hell—
Why, you could see that spire from miles around,
From wand'ring country lane, from village nestling neat
Since history began, where men had laboured on the soil;
And womenfolk had busied hard, against the sound
Of far too many children, borne should illness cheat
An infant quick by death, add mourning to their toil.
Rather, let's recall the hedgerows smiling green;
The trees we dare not climb; the meadows of the day
Where with friends we clambered childhood's peak;
Though fondness conjures more than we have seen,
Reshapes each place and face Time took away,
And adds the smiles and tears, when now we speak.

Where is my home? It's near the granite seat
Of Great Zimbabwe, where in ancient time
Kings wielded power in tribal fatherhood.
It's where the grass was brown and crackled 'neath your feet,
Waiting for torrential rain, such was the clime;
Where you could hear cicadas sing, to deafen while you stood.
The smoke rose up when charcoal burners plied their trade,
Adding mist to mist among the trees at early dawn.
Spiders, haunting huge and hairy, hinting dread;
And scorpions in your morning shoes, so be afraid!
Yet there was more than fear, when sun brought morn,
When bougainvillea flowed and jacaranda spread;
And golden shower bloomed rich about the gate.
When hand took hand, eyes met in earnest gaze
Of friendship, warming trust, and blending heart.
Though memory might err when it's too late,
Reshaping times and faces from past days,
Time brings together what is far apart.

Where is my home? A metropolis
Of tarmac highways, concrete bridges. Rushing back and forth
Are millions, captured in their traffic speed.
But in the fringe, quietly not too far from all of this,
Tree-hidden, lies my small domain, for what it's worth—
At over three-score-years-and-ten, that's all I need.
Many are the places I have lived, and ways I've been,
And laughed, and wept, and known the joy and pain,
And pondered Time, and where I'm going, where I'm from,
But now from all experience, a meaning I can glean:
My home is where I'm standing, e'en though I move again
With Roma heart on that good road of life, the latcho drom.

© Copyright Brian Barratt 2007. May not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the author.

'Latcho drom' is Anglo-Romani for 'good road'.


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