Last year, I took a trip to the National Portrait Gallery with my National Youth Theatre cohort. We were tasked with finding an image that we found profound, personally, and we were also to create a subsequent piece of art surrounding it, linking it in to a particular theme — my theme was home. I chose the artwork below. The artist who met the lady in the painting described ‘Anna’ still having a twinkle in her eye. Here is my poem, Twinkle. Painting by Monika Polak
Do you hear me?
I am your first home 1942 I hid you beneath my skin Holding your life with mine I hugged you tightly from within Harbouring your frame Until my body gave in
Numbed, torn, stretched They told me to push I held my breath You took your first As your head was slapped across my chest Your eyes were like the stars at night They twinkled I looked down at the pouch that once held you Now covered in wrinkles
And then you took your first steps Crawled out of the bedroom Shakily trotted through the hallway And now your feet walk across continents Exploring the world
Do you hear me?
I will always be your first home Years later my speech has slowed My hands have weakened And I have even more wrinkles They are maps to my experience They clothe me in nature I am a wonder My tears form lakes between my skin
They say the grey-headed are the wise Yet I have been foolish Strong-headed And once I was a redhead Fiery, zealous, a force to be reckoned with You remind me of me
My speech may be slow yet it has formed life My hands may be weak yet they have ploughed And my eyes It’s the eyes that matter With every wrinkle They will always be like the stars at night They will always twinkle