Because I have always wanted this project to focus on Durham and Belfast, I have been trying to redirect my writing once again to those places. In the past week and over the next several weeks, I hope to capture more precisely the reasons why Durham is so important to me and the ways that I see the themes of walls and borders playing out in this city, both in exploring recent experiences and by returning to earlier poems on the topic.
This year I am tutoring at SEEDS Garden, an organization that provides after-school supervision for elementary age students. This week I’m including a poem that looks back on one afternoon when we decided to take the day off from school work to play in the garden outside.
With Stephanie, In the SEEDS Garden
And what about the hedges of a garden
Are they walls too?
If so, then they are a good kind of wall and
Today, they hem us in:
You, with the same name as my mother but with
A different laugh, a different way of holding yourself
And me, clasping your hand
Asking about your scratches and your schoolwork.
Together, behind living walls, we are safe
From kids on the playground and
Doctors on the phone
From boys sitting on the same bench who are
Maybe serious, maybe only teasing this whole time
We are safe from their words, their thoughts, even
Which ricochet off these walls of leaves and wood
Ricochet off into the coming dusk
And we are glad of it.
Now, we are safe enough to tumble into fall.
You drag me to your pumpkins (they are your favorite,
Even these ones, so small and lumpy)
Then I chase you to the tallest tree
Which you climb and climb until
I call to you; until you laugh and swing down,
Brushing my arm and looking up at my eyes in a single second
Holding them with your own,
(The darkest brown, the same as mine), then
You are running again and
Pulling me with you and
We are running again.
15 November 2011