Childhood Home


Familiarity fills my senses.
This place is in my bones.
The sunny door welcomes me
As it did the generations before.

The cold hardness of the cut glass handle
Its rainbow patterns dancing on the walls
When the sun beamed through the open door.

You could blindfold me.
I would still find the brass doorbell.
The double chime as you push and release your finger
Resonates in my memory.

I recall my grandmother’s playful tune on that bell.
A cheerful fanfare heralding her enthusiastic arrival.
Her mother bought this house.
I wonder if she rang the bell that way then.
When this house was filled with her children’s laughter.
My mother, her seven siblings and countless cousins.
A seaside holiday home.

My feet instinctively know to skip a step.
Years of practise over creaking floorboards.
My bare toes would get prickled
As I bound up the stairs to bed.
The carpet fitter left exposed tacks.
I learnt how to jump two steps at a time.
Those snakes would not catch me.

In bed, past the sash cord windows rattling in the wind
My parents are emptying the ash from the coal Aga.
Rumbling through the walls as the poker jolts.
Burning embers fall through into the tray, red and orange.

Downstairs the eggy sulphur would agitate a cough.
Peeping into the void to see the fiery deluge.
I would stay a safe distance away, as they taught me.
In bed, obedient, familiar sounds carry me to dreams of amber waves.

Copyright  © Sophie Harrington (2016)