Hollow Hides

Childhood Homes

It is as it always was

Though different

Ceilings lower

Paint worn

And the steps of the staircase I once walked

Seem narrower


I don’t quite trust that creak beneath my feet

It all feels very fragile

Or is that me?

Where once I ran without thought

Rooms echoing to the sound of childish feet

Stand silent

Replete in their new adornments. Nothing here belongs to me

I am a passing thought

Wandering, looking for an anchor that does not catch

But drags aimlessly

Memory and this moment are at war

We leave things just so

But of course they change

Become different, whilst we are gone

And the mind must account for that difference

So the myths shimmer within the charade

What is real feels hard and alien beneath my finger tips

Grains of dust sugar my human prints

Smudging, smearing something uniquely me

Leaving a ghost within

Neither here nor there


Childhood homes are strange places to the dispossessed

When parents have moved on, some deep mooring is lacking

Then others move in


Like some sort of sacred transgression of memory and moment that is not even ours to begin with

Yet it feels so damn personal

Away on the horizon

out the grey glass window

My mind takes me backwards

A screen door whines and bangs

It’s just the wind surely

That has the hairs raising

Along my skin

The scent of 4711 is missing

O’Cedar oil has vanished

And the tick of the iron roof as it heats

reminds me

A sky with no sun

Not even one that can be found behind a cloud

A sun that is now gone

Moved on to another universe perhaps

That’s it

The feeing I had been trying to put my hand on

Soothe that itch

I stand beneath a sunless sky

inside a hollow hide

Because childhood homes do indeed


11 thoughts on “Hollow Hides

  1. born again ye lady
    see it s i not me
    you know we had the skeleton key
    never used
    cos mummy would not lock the door
    until she was robbed at gun point
    everything was bigger
    then except
    me and my closed mind

  2. Reading this is like reliving the time I went to visit one of my childhood homes. Everything felt wrong. In my case the place had been spruced up and didn’t match the run down home from my memories. It was quite disconcerting.

    • It’s very disconcerting Monty, the difference between memory and fact, past and present. A sadness sometimes a kind of mourning, but no firm reason for that emotion. I wrote this some time ago – the photo I took of the window catch – when I was a child they reminded me of elephants. Back then, I saw patterns on the pressed iron of the ceilings and pictures in the convolutions of the printed vinyl flooring. Our creativity is innate and our dreaming immense as children – I think this why our childhood homes have such a grip on our consciousness, and when we return as adults they are ordinary shells with no magic at all, yet the aroma of our imagination lingers.

  3. Except in dreams. Those rare, vivid, beautiful dreams where you’re back home. And you long to stay, even though you know it’s just a dream.

  4. We were walking the beach in front of our old house, and the new owner came out and invited us to come see what they were doing … They had gutted the whole house – all the work my husband had done on it for the last 30 years – getting ready to remodel. I felt bad for my husband, but being a sensible man, he said later, “It’s their house now.” Still, when I dream of being back there, it’s the same as it was when it was full of our children and their friends.

    • That’s the other sort of childhood home – the one our children were born into and grew up in – I packed up my sons rooms eventually when they had been moved out for a few years, but they still come into our home and lean around and I’m so glad it’s still here for them

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