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  • JL Nash

Cornish Scones and Devon Clotted Cream



Before long it was time once again to venture forth and because of the unreliability of the trains, I catch an Easyjet flight to Bristol. Met by my second-cousin (a most excellent chap) I spend the next four days with his family close and extended, looking at the sun (yes, I could actually see it) although I confess, I still wore a jumper most of the time.


Devon and Cornwall are beautiful counties and to have an aunty who makes super scones is a treat and a half.


I have met my second-cousin only once in my adulthood although we are only 6 weeks apart in age, and in irregular contact. We can safely say we are very good friends. How strange it is to spend real time with him instead of just catching up over WhatsApp.


The physical presence of each of us has been on my mind and it brings me to consider who I know from different parts of my life and how they affect me in different environments.


I wonder at my roots and I question where indeed do I come from? There are so many identities we all inhabit over time, through different cultures, time and countries.


My words are found lacking.


Originally

by Carol Ann Duffy from New Selected Poetry 1984-2004 (Picador 2004).


We came from our own country in a red room which fell through the fields, our mother singing our father’s name to the turn of the wheels. My brothers cried, one of them bawling, Home, Home, as the miles rushed back to the city, the street, the house, the vacant rooms where we didn’t live any more. I stared at the eyes of a blind toy, holding its paw.


All childhood is an emigration. Some are slow, leaving you standing, resigned, up an avenue where no one you know stays. Others are sudden. Your accent wrong. Corners, which seem familiar, leading to unimagined pebble-dashed estates, big boys eating worms and shouting words you don’t understand. My parents’ anxiety stirred like a loose tooth in my head. I want our own country, I said.


But then you forget, or don’t recall, or change, and, seeing your brother swallow a slug, feel only a skelf of shame. I remember my tongue shedding its skin like a snake, my voice in the classroom sounding just like the rest. Do I only think I lost a river, culture, speech, sense of first space and the right place? Now, Where do you come from? strangers ask. Originally? And I hesitate.



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