A Healing Nostalgia – TCK poem

Today, for poetry Monday, here is a poem I wrote in my early twenties.

This poem was featured in a book called  …and Bees make Honey – An Anthology of Anecdotes, Reflections and Poems  by Third Culture Kids – (1994) Edited by Jill and Roger Dyer. Their first book called Scamps, scholars, and saints: An anthology of anecdotes, reflections, poems, and drawings by third culture kids was published 1991.

Jill and Roger Dyer have served as teachers, administrators and Roger as principal and superintendent of the world’s largest school for MKs. They collected over 1000 stories, poems and memories from third culture kids all over the world, and compiled them in these two volumes.

These anthologies were published in Australia, and although they are no longer in print, are available in ebook format at http://ttwilidesign.com/content/third-culture-kids-jill-dyer-roger-dyer-jill-turner-dyer-majestic-ebook-and-bees-make-honey.

A Healing Nostalgia   by Gail O’Connor

The sky lies heavy with darkened clouds,

The air, crisp and cool.

Leaves of autumn hues float by,

Falling without a sound on damp beds of grass below.

The wind is filled with the fresh scent of coming rain,

Nature stands in eager expectation.
I walk, alone, filling my lungs with the cool air,

Setting my face toward the evening breeze,

Allowing nature to smooth away the wrinkles of my long day’s work.

Then, in an instant, my senses transport me back,

Back to this other world,

to days gone by in time, yet suddenly so vivid within…
 I walk along the deserted beach at the fall of day,

Listening to the waves crash rhythmically on the shore,

 staring at the last rays of day seeping into the ocean depths.

I know I cannot stay, so I slip my hands in the pockets of my navy blazer,

 and walk back, fighting the cold wind that bites through my clothes and skin.

Houlgate, a small town on the Normandy coast.

I look back once more at the horizon,

breathing in the vanishing scene,

and turn away.

Now, I round the corner, my school bag on my shoulder,

It’s raining here too, and I put up the hood of my jacket.

A white house stands tall before me, welcoming me home.

As I approach, the sound of laughter and 

 the gentle tinkle of silver against plates brings a smile and a sigh.

I slip into my seat at the table as tea is being poured.

Villeneuve-Le-Roi, France

I look around once more,

“I can’t stay”, I say, 

An ache rising in my chest.

Now, I enter a small, dim hall,

       cluttered with umbrellas and rain coats,

Heavy with the smell of warming bodies,

       with the love of caring hearts.

Dad is already leading in the opening chorus,

The piano trailing behind, as if eager to join in.

“Ah, qu’il est doux pour des frères de demeurer ensemble !”

The words are so familiar and I join in.

– St Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.

Before slipping out, as prayers rise up to God,

I whisper, “It’s great to be back,”

Tears now flowing freely.

As I reach the front door of my apartment,

I stop and review the scenes

I just relived during my walk home.

It’s not the roller coaster experiences I miss so much,

But those little cottages with light shining through the

window panes.

As I reach for my key, I turn and look around at the wet,

autumn landscape of my neighborhood in Oak Park, Illinois.

I can’t help but wonder what scenes from this new world

will become part of my cottages of tomorrow.


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