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NaPoWriMo

Here’s today’s prompt:

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates “the sound of home.” Think back to your childhood, and the figures of speech and particular ways of talking that the people around you used, and which you may not hear anymore. My grandfather and mother, in particular, used several phrases I’ve rarely heard any others say, and I also absorbed certain ways of talking living in Charleston, South Carolina that I don’t hear on a daily basis in Washington, DC. Coax your ear and your voice backwards, and write a poem that speaks the language of home, and not the language of adulthood, office, or work.

I could have written, as instructed, about speech and dialect and the way people spoke in the Fifties and Sixties, but in the end this poem led me in a different direction – to the music we listened to. For me, these are the sounds of home.

The Sound of Home

Shall we listen to a record? they’d say,
and we’d open the lid of the record player,
set the turntable spinning at 33
for the Beethoven Symphonies box set
by Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic,
or The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews,
hills alive with lonely goatherds.
Some people called it the gramophone,
had thick, black 78s, His Master’s Voice –
Myra Hess plays Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,
or Children’s Favourites, The Runaway Train.
Later we had EPs of The Seekers,
I’ll Never Find Another You,
and 45s with crinkled paper covers:
pink Pye, green Parlophone, orange Decca.
We piled up singles, six at a time,
listened to them drop on the turntable
mixing soulful Shadows with upbeat Beatles
and the power of Dusty Springfield.
In the background the chink of china,
the slicing of an iced Victoria Sponge;
the music of Sunday afternoons.

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