In response to a question asked by Spring Coaching on Twitter recently:
How did I get here?
Well, that’s a long story really my dear,
And if I was starting again
I wouldn’t come from here!
But that’s the way it was for me back then,
A long and lost ramble, swathed in fear.
Lots of dead ends and broken hearts,
Maps that were never quite right from the start.
Lonely wanderings with dogs,
And homeless fellas for mates.
I struck out from the north,
Cold and hard by the sea,
Foaming and roaring, coal layers at my feet.
Docks on the river, ships and cranes being built,
The tower blocks and Rope Works,
Movie scenes full of guilt.
Bede and his monks’ would call to me, later.
Secrets, skeletons and all of the traitors,
Broken bone stirring a cauldron full of fear.
North by north west, the hope and the freedom,
The smell of the books and spaces for dreaming,
Chattering hope and happiness of the city,
The Mersey and the long lost old ferry;
Seeking the coast, the gantries of shipyards,
And the songs of working men.
Growing and stretching as a separate self,
At home for the first time,
In this confusion of a body.
Finding family in the factory, a joy and surprise
Blazered apprentices heading off to cricket and footy rivalries,
Car boots flogging half-inched shellsuits and fags.
Gathered into a Holy Family down Scotland Road;
Scouse ritual, wreathed in a haze of smoke and bacon fat
Smothered by love, love and so much love.
All the affairs that followed: blind alleys, willingly entered,
The left foot in, then out, then shake it all about.
The next era: growing up, from the outside at least
Promotion to another league, far far from home,
The white wedding: a dream, and a nightmare
Getting lost on the motorway every day,
Lost lost and a long way from home
Then after some weeks he was gone.
Dislocated from love, from ritual and warmth
Still searching, searching for home,
Through babies, their losses, and pain.
Yet You never left me as I navigated the maze,
Careering the wrong way down the one way streets,
Crashing into bollards and running for cover.
Deep down inside I was able to discover
That home lurked inside me and was always there,
Twirling with You in the kitchen, Fred Astaire.
There was no domestic bliss to be found here,
Crabbed with anxiety, molested by fear
Frozen, not thawing, but protection found near.
So how did we get to survive to today?
Through blundering, and crying, and guessing our way.
Looking for You in the cracks of the path,
Climbing through windows to avoid bailiffs’ wrath,
The kiss of the homeless illuming Your light.
I got here by magic and madness and sprites,
On the wings of angels that sang in the night.
Via poets that mourned with me for my loss;
I found I was home at the foot of the Cross.