This is a poem from Vivienne Stone, in response to a challenge thrown out by Ian a few weeks ago. Ian had preached a sermon on John 1:6-8, 19-28 which included his take on Jan Richardson’s poem: ‘Where I’m from’. The poem asks us to think about the people, places and experiences that have made us what we are – and which help point us to where we go next. The challenge was for others to think about their own versions…
Where I’m from – Vivienne Stone
I am from sun-filled wards and darkened dormitories.
Worldly goods stuffed in lockers, a world of children, whispering sleepy stories into the night.
I am from Last of the Summer Wine and Pratty Flowers; Spit on saddle soap, cavaletti jumps, and hooves crackling on summer heather.
I am from salted foam on ragged cliffs, ‘cream on top’ Cornish teas, fishing for crabs in Isambard’s shadow.
I’m from Catholic Church and Father Frank, nettles and dock-leaves and a white bible with sticky pages.
I am from prayers in the park with both eyes closed, hymns in the car and home to the church.
I am from women ‘shushing’ and stories in windows. An impatient Apoclops and a promised field.
I’m from candles for Jesus and cake for me.
I am from Wesley chapel and sweeping gravel, long sermons and French verbs, Manse evenings and youth club plays.
I am from Daniel and Alec. Airport goodbyes, the gift of return, cherished beyond the memory of exotic presents.
I’m from Patrick, Pauline and Kathleen. With stickleback nets and foggy jam jars, strange worlds briefly touching. I am from love of Tim, Tom, Johann, Bev, and Emily; From Jess, Bailey, Jensen, and a January arrival.
I am from Bunty and Dickens, Pinter and Berne, called out by Cruz and called in by Trench.
I’m from Gradwell and Lumb, and King and Mandela.
I am from index fingers sparking across a table. Enemies transformed and forgiveness liberated. Everything is possible.
I am from social model and protests, fountain pens and scribbled stories. I’m from human rights and equality, shaping law and defining policy. The carrot and stick in committees and board rooms.
I am from the love of Jesus, anchored in the compassion of strangers.
I am from outside to inside, confirmed and returned.
Many thanks to Vivienne for sharing this. If you feel inspired to add your own version of ‘Where I’m from’, then we would love to hear from you. Even if you decide not to share it later, please take a few moments and write yours anyway, just for yourself. Don’t overthink it. Just let it flow. God bless.