M and I are off work this week- we are experiencing the strange luxury of a holiday at home.

A strange kind of holiday- as we are working really hard. The list of tasks is long- gardening, painting the outside of the house, and if it rains, there is some plumbing and decorating inside.

An old house like ours always demands time money and energy- which always begs the question as to whether we might do something better with all three. Whether we really should be spending so much time creating a space to live in, rather than just getting on with living.

There is slightly more to this though- we are trying to create spaces for hospitality and retreat, both as a means of making our living, and as a means of living with simple integrity. Whether this might ever be a means to fully sustain our family is unclear, but it is a path we are set on. (See here for more information on what we are about.)

It is an interesting point to be asking these questions- as I am also in the middle of trying to create some poetry for a Greenbelt Festival installation- on the theme of ‘Dreams of Home’. So far I have written a few poems and rejected most of them for the project- which involves the broadcasting of poetry at different points around the festival site.

Here is one of the rejected ones- which I suppose is kind of apt-

Home is where the flowers grow

In neatly ordered style

Well betide the weed or slug

Who seeks to there defile


Home is castellated

All English men agree

From high suburban battlements

Old Empires can be seen


Home is lit by cathode rays

As the sofa eats the day

Home is when the door shuts tight

To keep the world away


Home is where we worship

The gods of DIY

With flat pack chipboard altars

Pastel paints to soothe the eye


Home is where the mortgage bill

Lands hard upon the soul

The shadow of satanic mills

Pulls us like a black holes


Home is where the children

Are heard but seldom seen

They play the X box all night long

Blasting aliens from the screen


Home is where the heart breaks

Where lies the empty bed

Home is where these memories

Are made but now lie dead


Home seems somewhere far away

We can’t get here from there

This pilgrim Diaspora

Are searching unaware


For home is like a twitch

In a phantom missing limb

Like a prophecy of silence

Before the birds begin to sing


Home is hidden low

By folding falling ground

It pulls me like a magnet

It’s a well I’m tumbling down

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