You Live Here — a poem about self-isolation for a broken heart

In difficult times, self-isolation in a strange place can be calming

Yesterday I read this poem aloud for you and today, here it is in writing. It’s about self-isolation for a broken heart. Feel free to share it in full or in part.

You Live Here

A view with a room, pale blue
which does no harm.
A window darkened with much looking.

In this room you are always light and tall.
All is clean—once clean, always clean.

The blue is for demonstrating shadows.
The Queen is fifty-six today.
In this room you gloat over poems,
endlessly rearranging their hair
and taking off tiaras.

A strange room, lacking a stapler.
On a vertical surface
(poem, poem)
nothing except
the reptiles of New South Wales
and a loop of crystals
spraying colours inwards.

Every day you want the sky to be blue
and the grass to be green
and they are.

You should be angry but you are happy.
Ninety-nine per cent of you is happy,
doubled in a sheet of mirror.

You have three friends in here:
a patch of bark, a grey cocoon
and your crystal beads.

A strange room with no screwdriver,
no drill, no need to drill.
You fixed the plumbing
but you broke the lid.

Take off your splints.
The room is full of right angles,
they will do. The sun is so hot
you think the beans are burning.
A crystal flicks. It will blaze forever.

Now it is time for the dark.
Come into the room, dark.
The dark is a blotter, the dark
puts a gruff palm on beads and blue.

You can’t sleep with your crown on.
The dark grows long blue hair all over you.
The light flows out, the dark grows in
through your long blue hair.

O come, star speckle of butter bright!
The boats rock and rock because
they are going nowhere.

The dark will tell you nothing new.
The moon is your harmless hammock,
your majesty a threaded cocoon.

Tomorrow there will be mirrors
and slogans and broken cisterns.
There will be children and crystals
and the darkness of arms and legs.

Do not be afraid.

Rachel McAlpine © 1982

Hear me read this soothing poem and discuss it in Episode 13, Season 2 of my podcast, How To Be Old: Happiness in Lockdown.

P.S. The poem has changed a bit from when it was first published. (Most poets do that.)

P.P.S. Thank you, everyone who “says” they LIKE this post and any others: that, and especially your comments, are what keep me going on this blog. Because of you, I think my way of helping is worthwhile.


One thought on “You Live Here — a poem about self-isolation for a broken heart

  1. alison41 says:

    You definitely do help others by sharing your tho9ghts, tips and poems with others. Please keep blogging!

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