Teenagers, cycling across the Dales up country roads in the seventies sun wheels turning, chests burning on our way to Tan Hill Inn
Too young to drink then we’d sit in the garden catch our breath and if we’re lucky maybe the northern lights I’d take photographs thinking to myself one day I’ll bring my wife here one day I’ll bring my children if I have any and we’d cycle home
All the energy I had then all that drive to ride the Pennine Road on the longest and the shortest days sit by that fire, dripping dry seemed there could never be a time I couldn’t call my friends and ride up to Tan Hill Inn skidding home in the snow
I thought it all was endless it all seemed so endless then
Now my kids are grown my kids are having their own there’s no energy left not in these bones to cycle up those hills just to sit without drinking…
This aimless wander has me homesick my family haunts me Around the table; spirits chat and eat it’s been much too long since I heard those voices saw the smile in my father’s warm eyes somersaulted in my mother’s complete understanding laughed and gasped at the speed of my sisters’ lightning wit
There is a peace there in the disorder of my family I’m at home there in the disorder of my family
These years, I have spun far away but still we each hold so tightly my return feels as though I’d never left here That easiness and warmth retained So, to bathe in my father’s wisdom or breathe in my mother’s open heart to relax with my sisters’ friendly tales as they look to me with such respect
There is an unending bond there in the disorder of my family there is always a home for me in the disorder of my family
This aimless wander finds me wanting to return, to see my family to go back, to see my family so, I go home…
What if those cells collide what if the world beats to a different rhythm What if our path is forked What direction will we take What if we have no choice for the first time in our lives
What if things go smoothly What if then we’re three What if it gets hard at times What if we do our best What if something we never thought was in us well, what if it suits us
What if there’s a name What if it’s etched across our hearts becomes the story of our lives What if it was for this that we’ve unknowingly been waiting What if putting our selfish selves upon the shelf well, what if we love it
What if in the fading light we sit and smile at all we made What if they sit and smile with us too…
Walking with my father through the junkie’s habitat of the park past the band-stand to the pond where we stood and watched the birds
I longed to find some words to speak to him as he stood beside me like a statue in some stony silent prayer I racked my brain for something true some sort of spoken key to unlock the parts in him he never shows
I wanted to see some proof that deep inside he loves me too I needed to touch his scars to finally believe that all of this is real…
What strange gravities compel you? Which strong seasons manipulate the focus of your mind? What forces are at work governing your silences and interactions? What are the properties of magnetic north that keep you so firmly held there?
Which habits formed into crippling routine Which once-cradled ambitions did you let burn away? What hope, was it you had, for all of what you started when you laid yourself beside her?
The peeling back of quiet moments… The giving birth to living memories… The quelling of hostile emptiness… All these oiled by flasks of brewed liquid…
What source of buried passion exists? What reason for the unbridged distances of family? What cold and clear window protects you from the warm interactions of flesh and blood? On what throne beyond the claws of love exposed do you stay slumped? And what reasoning hangs from these vague choices?
The flame is weak and distant the light is dim The star that shines in you kept hidden by clouds of distance and disinterest
What do you feel when you see me expanding here growing into your shape on this reflective surface? What do you think when you see me flexing skills that must have been learnt from you? Do you worry that shared talents means shared failings Do you think to warn me against their dangers give the gift of wisdom, just an insight or two is there more that I could learn from you?
There is still some hope for healing the withered roads that link our homes There is still some hope for forging a bond that will carry us into the future
O, but where are you and where am I to you? Where are you and where am I to you?