I attended Hutchmoot Homebound again this year. Though I didn’t focus on it as much as I did last year (whole other story but life is crazy!), I did make the wonderful decision to take part in Pass the Piece again. It is a collaborative project, where each participant is placed in two pairs. In each pair, there is a person A and a person B. Person A creates something, either in part or complete depending on what they have discussed with their partner. Person B then either completes the piece or responds to it. Last year it challenged me. This year I knew I needed another challenge so I signed straight up.
My person B was Rachelle. Though she is also a writer and blogger, her main art form is glass. Obviously, writing and glass don’t go perfectly together so we opted for a call and response piece. I created a small collection of found poems in response to two of our own blog posts and poems and songs we had each been inspired by. But before I share anymore about them, here are the poems and glass art:
Leave the earbuds at home on four wheels going nowhere wheels a-hummin’ not feeling the pressure down this road that lies open. I have seen you in rush-hour haste Your restless feet will know no resting ground, Home is a place that you wear, Saying you have nothing to declare
Because home is an elusive concept to me it has almost lost meaning just a shadow, a foretaste. My true home is a place I’ve never been before it’s not the full embodiment of the word, not yet Home Here and Home There.
When you gave the order to grow up, then let me loose to wander, this road, she was a woman who opened a door for the here-born and the there-born horizons throbbing at our doorstep to leave a legacy of unpredictability. The people that we’ve walked alongside, the songs that we have sung, the miracles I have seen maintain what it means to be human. We walked and talked and breathed fresh air; love moves at 3mph, the speed of walking And we walking got blessed with resonance
When the old world started dying There was something human Among my favourite memories. Looked back over my Facebook posts “who is this upstart speck that makes a mystery of the mundane” We didn’t so much as pass a single word through its sacred veil, bouncing off the kerb, then disappearing down the verge. Well, I turned the corner. I face the wilderness of the Word, rucksackladen yet open to embrace In the land of my sojourn.
Found poetry is poetry made up of lines found in other sources. I came across this genre through Hutchmoot Homebound 2020 but it wasn’t until this year that something clicked. I’ve been thinking about poetry over the last year but had no idea how to start writing again. (All my teenage poetry was what you expect from a teenager – angst, heartbreak and pop culture.) Found poetry seemed like a great way to find my way back in.
Rachelle looked through Finding Chaya and was drawn to “Loving at Walking Speed”. She also pointed me towards her post, “Home” on Land of my Sojourn. I drew lines from these and then added to them lines from “Land of my sojourn” by Rich Mullins (Rachelle’s choice), various poems by Simon Armitage, and various poems by John Agard.
Because we both contributed to the choice of sources, these are not just my poems. They belonged to both of us because there is a little bit of both of us in them. It also means that found poetry doesn’t just belong to us – they belong to Rich Mullins and Simon Armitage and John Agard. Even John Mark Comer and Henri Nouwen could claim influence via my blog post.
Poems about home, journeying and remembering
Though we were both drawn to the idea of loving at 3mph, the theme of home also came out through the poems. Or rather, the dual themes of looking for home and being on a journey of some kind. I wrote these poems in the middle of moving to a different county and realising that I was leaving the place I’d called home for almost four years far too easily. Some of my relationships were also on the rocks and everything was in flux. While I knew where I was moving to, where my next home would be for now, my journey felt shrouded and uncertain.
Writing these poems gave me a way to process a lot, though, as is often the case, I didn’t realise how much I had processed until afterwards. I read them now and I can feel almost in my blood the emotions I processed – the questioning, the doubt, the frustration and even a little spite.
Yet in them, I still find hope both in the past and the future. I remembered the girl I had been – the one who wanted to be ‘an upstart speck’ while but had also lost her sense of home – as I read through ‘Kid’, which I discovered via my GCSEs. In these poems, I’ve let her speak out and speak into my life.
But I also hear the woman I am now and the woman I want to be. It is almost like she’s talking to 15-year-old Katy who is confused over her sense of home and wants to make this big mark on the world. She’s there… I’m there, reminding myself that it’s okay I haven’t made that big mark or left a world-changing impact. That I have loved and been loved. I’ve seen small miracles happen and sung songs and walked with my family and friends. And none of this is finished. I am still walking and trying to do so at the speed of love.
Most importantly, I have accepted I am not fully home but I know where my home will be. I’m just not there yet. Instead, this “land of my sojourn” is my “home here” for now and one that I can embrace.
A response in glass
Rachelle’s chosen medium was fused glass, which isn’t something that feels like a natural partner to poetry. Yet in a small square, Rachelle captured the same sense of journeying at walking speed – the speed of love. Even the path bending and hiding the horizon lends to this sense that sometimes what’s next can’t be seen. Even when we know where home ultimately will be, there are times we need to pause where we are and accept that we can’t see what’s around the corner.
Rachelle has captured in glass the end of the two last poems. Both being in the “fresh air [where] love moves at 3mph // the speed of walking” and the moment before we turn the corner to “face the wilderness of the Word”. For me, this provides a needed moment of stillness in comparison to four poems that move at pace, never ceasing. A reminder that, no matter the journey we are on, we need to stop and be still sometimes.
This land, the land of our sojourn, is our home right now. Let us stop and be still in it, perhaps even embracing it.