This post is part of The Memory Book Project.
Colorado poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer writes a poem a day. Each one is thoughtful and considered, deep and shining. And yet, as she says, these poems are not in what’s likely to be their “book” form. Her criterion for these daily offerings is that they must be true; further polish can come later, or not. In the meantime: every day, a true gift.
I hope she doesn’t change Always Home too much. It curls so happily in my heart in its present form.
A friend—a pastor and a poetry-lover—brought this poem to a meeting of the wonderful women’s group she leads, in which we communally savor both poetry and silence. It knocked on my heart, and I memorized it that afternoon on a walk. Like so many meaningful things, it has only become more important as this year of grief and crisis rolls on.
Since then, I’ve taken a couple of classes and exchanged letters and poems with Rosemerry. Her example has inspired me to be a bit less cagey about letting my own new and un-perfected pieces out to play in the world. Perfectionism gets in the way, as often as not, of sharing heart and work. We never know who needs to experience what we offer. (For proof of that, go look at the comments on the original post for Always Home.)
Part of the reason I chose this poem for December is its starting point: loneliness. It’s a blue season for many—and maybe for most, in this Covidtide of isolation and anxiety. I love the acknowledgements here: the real grief of distance, the real consolation of friendship.
I love what feel like ritual elements, too: the singing, the circle.
I’m also in conversation with the poem’s idea of this physical moment as my home. So elemental, so accessible. And also: this physical moment does not always agree with the adjective form: homey.
Right now, I can return to my breath for calm. But if I was struggling to breathe—sick with covid, or starting an asthma attack? Right now, I can feel my heart beat and be reassured. But if my heart was beating uncomfortably—thrown off by anxiety, or arrhythmia, or partially blocked arteries? Right now, I can go for a walk, feel my feet on the earth. But if I was injured, paralyzed, or in lockdown, unable to go outside? To be home in this body may be simple, but it is not necessarily easy.
It’s always a tether to the present, anyway. The only one we get.