My grandfather is a country

Vicky Arthurs

My grandfather is a country.
Rough terrain. Etched upon his hands
A map. Rivers and roads and feet above sea level,
Contours in the whorls of his fingertips.
He has carved a path across his palm.
I walk my fingers through its valley,
Sensing the mountains all around —
The untamed mountains,
Volcanic, bronchial.

Vicky Arthurs

Vicky Arthurs is a writer, editor and performer based in Newcastle. Her first full-length poetry collection Limehaven (Iron Press, 2015) was launched at the Eclectic Iron Festival.

Vicky says: "The book is inspired by childhood memories of my grandparents and by stories I heard about their lives. My grandfather was a butcher who lived through two World Wars, though he fought in neither. Shaped by wartime, my grandparents were almost self-sufficient. My grandfather hoed and dug, while my grandmother stewed, baked, bottled, and preserved."

"Their home was a haven, their garden a place of wonder and discovery. A lush lawn gave way to apple trees, raspberry canes and row upon row of vegetables. Here we watched birds build their nests and listened to their chicks peeping in the hedges. We pulled potatoes from the earth and tasted fresh-picked fruit."

"There's a special bond between young and old, and I wanted the poems to celebrate that connection."

Read more poems from Limehaven on Vicky's website.


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My grandfather is a country © 2015 Vicky Arthurs: used with permission.
Photograph © Donna-Lisa Healy
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.