Here is a poem I wrote years ago, about the journey I was on to re-claim my life as my own, when I began to face parts of my childhood that were painful, which traumatized me, and thought about how to make sense of that in my life.
I was thinking about this journey to rebuild my life which I am going on as I do the work of grief which for me now is to re-embrace my life, and I thought it was such a fitting picture of this process.
May it help you take back whatever is missing from your life.
There was a warm hearth in my childhood home
burning bright with firewood flame.
When the chill of snow, so rare, would come
like some unexpected Christmas guest
even in March
I would trudge out, cold and alone,
little feet stomping at frantic pace
through rolling hills
which sparkled white with fresh blown snow
that transformed the dips and rises
surrounding that simple back yard
into scenes from some enchanted forest
where more was possible than often seen.
The fireplace light made many such magic journey possible.
When frost’s icy teeth bit at my heels
like some newborn child to his crib
to that hearth’s embrace
its waves of heat enfolding me
like grandma’s family quilt.
There is no feeling that quite speaks of homecoming and joy
as those icy pin pricks
I would feel running up and down my frozen feet
when they rested bare
before that fiery window to my soul.
It is gone now,
that home long since sold
when momma’s health gave way and
daddy’s drinking turned full tilt.
I must build my own hearth now,
to weather the frigid winters of this world.
What bricks must I gather,
what woodpile can I turn to,
and who will sit with me,
hot cocoa in their ice-numbed hands
as we huddle together under warm blankets
against the gathering chill of night?
Oh forgotten home how you haunt me
with memories of hikes in your woods
playing in your swiftly flowing streams
and hiding in your hand-built forts.
You do not remember them.
How can you, a thing of wood and stone?
But my soul knows.
And so I grab hammer and nails
deep in the winter wood of my soul
to build a solace for the storms
where I and my companions may be gathered in
amidst the long dark chill of time.