The House That Moved

Told moving house a major stress,

but where the emphasis?

My relocation, focal site,

transferring home from house.

The change was of my fixed mind-set,

with salt drips reaching tongue,

half-empty cup now overflows,

I feel it in my bowels.


Never chessboard gambit, clever,

nor shift, a change of gear,

timely initiating – but

fresh rhyme, new paradigm.

Stone lintel long-divorced from wall,

each hang had its own song,

put-up-with hatch that I moaned, now

anointed without oil.


The tin bath is my jacuzzi,

gas ring my Aga range,

my outhouse mangle, laundromat,

sea shanties I sing there.

Before door shaped the bell lost flex –

but like the clapper swing;

beneath, the scraper where I tread,

soiled boots swop for my soul.


Still sat, I stare through the pained glass,

cracked, garden, easy whin,

built on dolerite foundation,

now this my box on sill.

Kites pennant, hawks stoop, thermals swoop,

vigilante cloud patrol,

while even storm petrel coastguards

serve lookout for my byre.


My diagnosis, like my home

will be adapted to my style.

I don’t accept what others see,

the symptoms they imagine mine.

These minor ailments, certified

incurable, are what I’ll change;

my attitude turns false to true,

so look again. I’m no bird’s prey.


Used by permission of the author.

Stephen Kingsnorth

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over ...more