Thursday, 7 June 2012

warm your bones

As part of the project the warm/&/the cold we have been working on poems with participants from The Big Issue and The Booth Centre in Manchester. Snippets of these reflections on the life of homeless people are being embroidered onto fabric and painted onto ceramics, to be gifted back to the group at the end of the project. Warm your bones, examines the warmth food can bring...

warm your bones

first month I was homeless
I was helpless
didn’t know where to go
walked all day to find shelter
they let me soak my feet
that’s where I felt it first
being invited into

the warmth of company
a friendly company
giving food
a loving warmth
(words can paint a picture
better than a picture)
the pictures are better
when I eat jam bread

reminds me of being in a kids’ home
jammy brown bread
and milky cocoa
toast and a glass of milk
it’s that inner warmth
with cheese on top

I like porridge thick
clogs the sink, Quaker or Scots
cold milk poured on the hot
sugar soaking in
rice pudding brings me to childhood
with skin on top
apple crumble

it’s that long since I tasted apple crumble
soup with croutons
fried and they melt in your
beef broth, scotch broth
rip our bread into squares
tripe and onion
have a haggis

delivering food hot
to the elderly I always got
a warm welcome
a feel-good, a food warmth
it’s been a long time

got problems with my nerves
at the moment find it hard
to hold a pan
or carry a kettle
scalded myself three times
find it hard to be kind to myself
to think of myself as worth anything
at all

when you’re really hungry
and you eat at last
you feel it
in the mind
the 1940s, 50s, 60s
that massive poverty
social, economic, history
it’s been so long
since I had some.

Group poem
Booth Centre
18 May 2012

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