Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Secret Country

This photo reminded me of a poem I've always liked, by Carol Ann Duffy:

In Your Mind

The other country, is it anticipated or half-remembered?
Its language is muffled by the rain which falls all afternoon
one autumn in England, and in your mind
you put aside your work and head for the airport
with a credit card and a warm coat you will leave
on the plane. The past fades like newsprint in the sun.

You know people there. Their faces are photographs
on the wrong side of your eyes. A beautiful boy
in the bar on the harbour serves you a drink- what?-
asks you if men could possibly land on the moon.
A moon like an orange drawn by a child. No.
Never. You wath it peel itself into the sea.

Sleep. The rasp of carpentry wakes you. On the wall,
a painting lost for thirty years renders the room yours.
Of course. You go to your job, right at the old hotel, left,
then left again. You love this job. Apt sounds
mark the passing of the hours. Seagulls. Bells. A flute
practising scales. You swap a coin for a fish on the way home.

Then suddenly you are lost but not lost, dawdling
on the blue bridge, watching six swans vanish
under your feet. The certainty of place turns on the lights
all over town, turns up th scent on the air. For a moment,
you are there, in the other country, knowing its name.
And then a desk. A newspaper. A window. English rain.

I suppose everyone carries with them a secret country in the depths of their mind. It could be the remembrance of a childhood home, a place you went for holiday, or even an imaginary place. I can't really remember what my old house looked like, but the impression of it lingers in my mind, inextricably linked to the memory of my peaceful childhood years.

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