Days of Sheringham: Part 3

When I arrived at Heathrow Airport, Kathryn was waiting for me at the gate.  She insisted that picking me up from airport made the most sense and that it would get me to her house the fastest, helping me adjust to the time change. Since England is 8 hours ahead of California, I gladly accepted.  Ten years ago, jet lag never fazed me and I would’ve insisted on taking a cab, bus or train… but times have changed (AKA I have aged), and now jet lag is crippling.

We met about five years ago in San Francisco when she was visiting her son, Jon, a good friend of mine and roommate at the time. We bonded instantly.  Jon took us to his favorite brunch spot, then for a few afternoon cocktails in the Castro. Almost Halloween, the bars were packed with fabulous gay men in costumes and some of the best drag you’ve ever seen. A few drinks later, we’d made friends with an adorable young couple (one of which became my beloved hairstylist) who had us laughing so hard we cried. Later at dinner, we shared stories of heartbreak – we were officially friends – and Jon was officially embarrassed by the two women sitting at his table, crying in public.  It was beautiful.

When I first mentioned that I was looking for a cozy getaway spot for a make-shift writing retreat, Kathryn instantly offered her vacation home in Sheringham.  After searching the town on Google-image, I knew it was the right place.  A small coastal town, with just enough to keep me occupied, but not enough to distract me from my mission.  This was it!

The plan was to spend two nights with Kathryn and her husband at their home in Essex, then drive out to coast where they’d help me get settled for my solo adventure.  As it turns out, this was an excellent plan.  It gave me just enough time for a day-trip to London and to recover from the flight over.  By the time we were in the car on our way to Sheringham, I was rested and ready.

Once we parked the car and unpacked our luggage, we took a stroll around town so that I could get acquainted.  First, a walk to the seaboard, where we were pelted with wind and hail (and doubled over with laughter)! Then, a walk about town to point out the local market, pub, and theater company.  After the tour, we settled into a local café for a cappuccino and crumpet. Now, I consider myself to be a pretty social person, but Kathryn has me beat.   Everywhere we went people recognized her and stopped to chat.  The café was no exception.

While sipping cappuccino and stuffing my face with crumpet, one of the owners of the café casually mentioned that they were hosting a Live Harp and Poetry Reading Night the next evening. Kathryn jumped at the idea, asking him what time it started and strongly encouraging me to attend. Poetry, wine, and harp music in a small seaside town? Sign me up!

The only problem was that most of my poetry lives in a notebook, back in the States. So, I could attend, but wouldn’t be able to share any work of my own.  As fate would have it, that night the jet lag kicked in and I awoke at 2 AM and couldn’t fall back asleep.  Annoyed, I reached for my phone to launch a meditation app in hopes it might coax me back to sleep, when I remembered – I’m here to write. There was no need to force myself to sleep. Time was on my side and I could write to my heart’s content.

And so I did. That night, I wrote two poems: one that I’m quite proud of and planned to share at the poetry reading, and another that is for my eyes only.  Some things aren’t meant to be shared.

One of the first to arrive at Harp and Poetry night, I took the opportunity to chat with the owners and scout out a good seat.  I sat next to a man named Gerard. He was originally from France, but had spent the last few decades in England, now calling it home. Poetry night was something he greatly enjoyed.  Having been a part of the group for years, he’d acquired the role of translator: translating French poetry to English and English poetry to French. Not because it was necessary, but because it was lovely, and everyone in the group appreciated it.

As the remaining guests arrived, I realized this group had been meeting for years. They had a rhythm and cadence and routine. And yet they welcomed me with open arms. Nothing was awkward.  At first I was afraid that I might not be up to the challenge, but they made me feel so welcome, I didn’t even hesitate when it came time to add my name to the list of readers.

Among those who read were a retired architect, professor, published author, preacher and others I didn’t have the pleasure to speak with. The topics were varied: wildlife, longing, sex, politics, anatomy, gardening, war, loss. Oh, and one man was FUNNY. I mean, stand-up-comedy kind of funny. Who knew that was even possible? Who knew poetry could be hilarious? Probably the same person who knew how captivating a harpist-storyteller could be.

poetry night

When it was my turn to read, I stood up, shuffled my way to the front of the room, and read my soul and words aloud. I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to writing about my deep-dark feelings, but reading them out loud and in public is a completely different story. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to it. My heart was pounding, my face was red, but I did it. Once I’d settled back into my seat, I turned to Gerard who looked at me and said “Very good. Your face is red.”

It’s not quite the compliment I was hoping for, but hey, it was honest. And I’ll always take honesty.

What stood out the most to me about that evening, was the passion in the room. Here was a group of people, united in their love of words. They helped each other grow, in confidence and skill. Month after month, year after year, they gathered to share their personal work or their favorite work by other poets. Not for profit, not for agenda, but for passion. For love.

We should all be so lucky to be part of a community like that.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  This follows Part 2.  Each part in this series is written by whim, not necessarily in chronological order or any order for that matter.  Enjoy!

When My Hands Find Their Way

When my hands find their way to you, they are instantly home. Words cease to matter since I can feel you now. Your words are beautiful though.  When you speak, they hang thick in the air and wash over me like the fog pouring over the bridge in the crisp dark of night.

They envelope me.

They seep into my pores and come to rest within my soul and every piece of light that shines within my darkest corners. And yet, even with the force with which you bring me to my stillness, the words are unnecessary, really.

Once my hands are on you, I know everything I need.

Your breath and warmth speak more into the soft of my palms, than your syllables upon my ears ever could.

I feel you. I hear you. I understand.

You are home.

hands

Yours truly,

Miss Erin Terese

It’s Hard Sometimes

It’s hard sometimes.

To say what we mean.

And mean what we say.

To follow our heart.

And show it the way.

To live for today.

And plan for tomorrow.

Letting go of the past.

And all of our sorrow.

With each ounce of pain.

And every tear shed.

Is an ounce more of wisdom.

And pleasure ahead.

For each stone over-turned.

And pathway walked down.

Will lead you on home.

With the joy that you’ve found.

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Yours Truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  Hope you enjoyed this mini poem and that you enjoy this big, beautiful, broken, bountiful, breathtaking, beautiful, bold world.

Song on the Wind

My dearest love,

The song of change has begun to play. Again.  We have heard it before, you and I. Have we not?  Have we not laid in bed and listened to the birds begin to lift their voices in the sweetest melody ever heard?  Have we not heard it again as we strolled through the aisles of the grocery store, listening to cans and boxes and melons tumble to the tile?

And now as I sit here, knowing you are sitting somewhere looking at the same blue sky and the same puffy white clouds, I can hear it begin to sound again.  Can you?  Do you hear it, my love? For me it sounds of motorcycle rumbles, trains on tracks and planes overhead.

Whistle me a tune, dear, and send it on the wind.  Tell me what you hear, have heard, and where you’ve been.

The rustle and volume is rising…and I know you hear it too.  What is the sweet song of change now telling you?

song on the wind

Sending you my love, on the wind and wings of butterflies.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

On Feathers

On feathers she walked, drifting toward the moon on notes of Bach and Beethoven.  Floating over fields of lavender, and rivers of honey. She waved goodbye to the alabaster house on top of the hill, and blew kisses on the wind, hoping they would land on the hearts of those she left behind. For her heart had danced to the rhythm of the hour, and her feet had skipped to the sound of the drum.  Her lips had delighted in the jasmine and berries, and her eyes soaked in the golden of the sun.  She could have stayed and swam in the senses, but her lover was beckoning her, calling her home.  And so she floated to the sky, to reunite with him where he shines, watching the people from afar and reveling in their joy.

Feather Light

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

Frozen Words

Like an icicle hanging from the branch of a tree, your words have stayed and lingered and bit me as they clung.

Love you. Miss you.  Want you. Need you.

The base of the ice, where it anchors in my heart.

Love me. Need me. Show me. Leave me.

The dagger’s point, that clamors at my soul.

And like the icicle on the branch, there are only two ways for which your words will leave me, let me go and release me.

By slowly melting and stinging as it drips down my trunk, drops seeping to my core.

Or by breaking loose, taking pieces of me with it and leaving shards of splintered ice and birch and promises on the ground.

However the words leave, they will. And as the ice melts and breaks and washes away, so too does the essence of you.

There may be scars left behind or words splattered on the ground, but there is a spring to cleanse it away.  To bud new leaves and bark and a clean place for rain to fall – and perhaps freeze again.

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Yours truly,

Erin Terese