The thing is to tell my story, not yours, not steal your pain to pass off as my own,
not take your truth to be turned into lies, and yet to be touched by your words,
as they become part of me, a softening under the skin of my heart.
I am the things that I hear, I am the low hum of traffic, the rattle of trailers
I am the sound of the stream that runs by the door of the house,
I am the echo of birdsong, the harsh, croaking cry of the rooks.
I am the sum of your words, and my words, and the words that I read,
and the buzz f the screen, the machine that connects me to you and
the stories of others, words gathered and tumbled, piled high up and teetering
and I am the child who runs up the passage, and the mother
turning the story over and over, inspecting it with me and looking for clues,
and the father who leans in, expectant, and sharing his fears, and I
am the hiss of hot water that’s filling the cup, and the crunch of the biscuit,
and a sudden dark rumble of thunder, and rain on the window,
and wind in the trees, and I go forth, I go forth, and I listen,
and the thing is to tell my story, not yours.
I am the girl at the checkout, the man with the trolley,
and the dog at the door, and the cat that slinks under the hedge,
I’m the deep throb of the lorry, the shrill of the phone,
and the words and the words and the words and the words.
I wrote this for tonight’s dVerse prompt. Gina is prompting tonight, and she asks us to think about what sits underneath our poems, or alongside them – the hum of our lives. How does our non-writing self influence our writing self? I hear a lot of difficult, painful stories in my line of work. I make a conscious effort not to appropriate them – they are not mine to tell – but I’m sure they seep in at the edges. Thinking about that got a bit jumbled up with a Walt Whitman poem I read last night: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/there-was-child-went-forth-every-day and I tried to bring an echo of that – but I can’t do those immensely long lines. This is a very wide poem for me. My poems tend to be tall and thin.