ode to home


Dear home,
How do I sum up four years and seven months with you?

How do I begin to offer thanks
for the safe keeping and comfort
you have brought my kin?

Not only shelter -
a place to rest and work and create in,
nooks to fill with beauty,
stories weaved into the walls
and floors of you,

the sound of a lamb
pattering in the kitchen,
of babies crawling
and hiding in cupboards -
of wind howling
of rain on the tin roof -
the squeak of a child’s fingers
drawing fish on foggy windows
of trucks creeping past loaded with hay,
and the distinctive rattles of the local utes:
that’s Michael we’d say,
that’s Marty, or that’s daddy -

of the ground around you:
the gardens we grew,
what thrived, died,
the trees that survived;
fig, oak, plum, walnut,

the vegetables you gave us,
flowers too

the pasture around our fence:
so familiar are the bumps and curves
the trees and grasses,
the games we played, dam we circled,
and the time Reu first rode a bike
and the afternoons we spent
carrying dead logs and sticks
for our wigwams one, two and three -

You hold so many moments, memories
firsts, birthdays,
newborn babies,
the school bus,
hundreds of loaves of bread baked,
thousands of eggs packed,
chickens plucked by the shed,
picnics on the grass -

of seasons, of struggle
and beautiful peace,
of drought and flood
bushfire smoke and thick frost
sunshine and full moons
and the stars that take our breath away -

there’s the old grey gum tree we can see when lying in bed,
the one I watch as I hang clothes out to dry,
that I never tire of watching sway in the breeze -
”give me a home among the gum trees” I think,

of the people who came:
dear friends and helpful travellers,
strangers needing directions,
each of my siblings -

and all the creatures:
bugs, beetles, bees, mice
cats, snakes, a tiny dog
who chewed holes in our flyscreen -
the moths, butterflies, dragonflies,
grasshoppers, mud daubers,
swallow nests under the eaves,
frogs under the bath tubs,
kangaroos grazing,
echidnas by the road -
the wild geese and the tiny ducks in the dam,
black swans, turtles, yabbie claws too.

that we could lie on the trampoline
and look up through the branches of the big cypress tree
and spot birds resting:
galahs, cockatoos, sparrows,
parrots, magpies, and kookaburras -

I will remember all of these things,
and I will see myself sitting on top of the nearby hills
looking out at the sweeping granite country
farm land, dam, fence, forest, road:
and the sight of that tiny redbrick house with a green roof
where my eyes were always drawn first:
our home -
and remember you.