Confined to house and wireworks walls,
he was a caged animal picking tiny nuggets
of copper from boot soles like thorns from paws.
Every week day, at one for dinner and at five
for tea, deep in the fabric of his work clothes
and his very being, he carried home
the metallic tang of blood and sweat.
A victim of the Blitz, shaking hands and sleepless
nights betrayed the calm of face and voice.
But in the garden, sun on his back,
and a tuneful whistle on peppermint breath,
reciting their names like holy prayers,
he taught me to dead-head peony and rose,
and sprinkle the dry earth with can and hose.
Kim M. Russell, 2017
Me in my Granddad’s garden when I was little and Granddad years later
In poetry we use imagery to convey moments, emotions, objects, animals, people and places. Sometimes we can convey someone’s personality through place and vice versa – place through description of a person.
In the prompt I have shared two examples: a poem by Norman McCaig, entitled ‘Aunt Julia’, in which the poet’s memories of his aunt become blurred with the place in which she lived; and ’Island Man’ by Grace Nichols, which uses the state of waking to convey the confusion of a man who is not where he wants to be.
The challenge is to write about a place through a person or a person through a place.