I am from the cul de sac, from Black Jacks and paper bags of penny sweets.
I am from the ordinary semi that grew and grew to fit in the biggest family on the street, and all the neighbourhood children in the back garden on swings and a slide with a paddling pool in the summer.
I am from the nettles along the roadside, the heather and grass along the catch on the edge of the moors. I am from lazy summer days with my friends and my dog walking the moors and splashing in the water.
I am from the eldest girl of a family of girls and I am the eldest girl in a family of girls, from a broken home way way back in my past, from a broken father with his own damaged past. I’m from never speaking of the breaks. I’m from not knowing that I had an uncle and cousins until my grandmother died and they showed up at the funeral. I’m from the assisted place at the private school, that helped me to be the first in my family to go to university, where I drank and fought and learnt that alone doesn’t have to be lonely.
I am from the eternal making ends meet and always moving on. Never quite sure where to settle or what settling was.
From ‘I want never gets’ and ‘J is the clever one, her sister is the pretty one’.
I am from an unforgiving church that could offer no solace for a friend who took her own life. From the wilderness of back turned on religion, with the lingering sneaking suspicion there is more to the world than we can see or know.
I’m from a mining town in county Durham, the only place that’s ever really been home, from cottage cheese salads and fish and chips.
From the long hot summer that was my childhood, where my brown haired, brown eyed sister caught too much sun and was sick all down the hallway, the caravan parks in Wales where we spent our summer holidays, and the farm in the Peak District where I learnt to milk cows and herd sheep, when we went with grandparents and cousins while my mother convalesced.
I am from pictures stuffed into envelopes, in a bottom drawer of a bookcase, from dusty boxes in the garage from a five years ago move, from pictures that start over again with the birth of my daughter, that flash up on my screen every time I leave the keyboard for a minute.
Sadly, the original instructions have disappeared – but I found an article about the poem and the poet, which I think gives some clues, and a link to a lesson plan you could use to join in?