Fiona Hamilton


She walks out one morning

heading for the river’s

shelves of flint and chert

 passing a scarlet shop bric-a-brac,

bins beer cans, buses


She notices remnants of bunting

traffic lights winking, messages

while imagining sandstone

quartzite, Arabis scabra

Veronica spicata

amethyst and tarragon


For a while her footsteps loosen and drift

under flight paths of

bullfinch and marsh tit

and invisible aerial dances

of pauper pugs, silky wave moths

white-letter hairstreak butterflies

But she falls, slipping

on crinkly black chocolate box wrappers

crumpled under a rock’s shallow face

and are led astray by dogs

to caves where everything echoes

except her


Then somehow, without a map

or compass, without

reading stars or the faces of men

she emerges slowly into daylight

where, at first, oblivious smilers parade

sumptuous day-glo ice creams


She turns a corner, finds companions in snails

and horses, and unexpected friends

with an eye for detail and good balance.

She realises she is her own uncharted territory.

When she has mapped, wept

and understood, that’s when

the homecoming begins


Fiona Hamilton is a therapeutic writing practitioner, author and mother of three. Her published poetry includes Skinandi and Poems for People. BBC Radio has broadcast some of her short fiction and poems and she has written scripts for theatre and community projects, including Mountains and Travelling in Time. She teaches with Metanoia Institute and Orchard Foundation, and lives in Bristol.