Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Carol atCarol’s Corner
Last week, still fighting “writing ennui”, I turned to Georgia Heard’s Writing Toward Home:Tales And Lessons To Find Your Way Home, a book that has always helped jumpstart my writing life. As luck would have it, I opened to “Querencia”:
In Spanish, querencia describes a place where one feels safe, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn, a place where one feels at home. It comes from the verb querer, which means to desire, to want.
My mind immediately turned to the farm, to the pull that drew me there from the very first time I drove by it by chance, to the moment I drove up the driveway, its keys in my hand.
“Write about where you feel most at home, where your querencia is…” urged Georgia Heard, and suddenly I was off and running. I may be struggling with writing about teaching, about books I’ve been reading, about everything else, but I seem to always be able to feel my writing again when I think of the farm.
Sometimes, one’s querencia is an always known thing. My husband feels this about upstate New York, where he grew up. Sometimes, querencia is just a state of mind. Having grown up in many different places, and moved around a lot in my adult life, I had come to believe that this was true for me…I didn’t need a place as such, it was just a matter of inward “at homeness”. Then, I found the farm.
We’ve drained the water and shuttered the farmhouse for winter, knowing that this would not be the winter to journey up every weekend, or even for the Christmas holidays. But I feel a strength from it anyway – and, because of that I am able to find my way back to writing again. It is, as Georgia Heard says: “…for writers, that burning urge to write is our querencia. In order to feel at home we have to be writing…Writing is a way of finding and keeping our home.”
“Here” Jane Kenyon
You always belonged here.
You were theirs, certain as a rock.
I’m the one who worries
if I fit in with the furniture
and the landscape.
But I “follow too much
the devices and desires of my own heart.”
Already the curves in the road
are familiar to me, and the mountain
in all kinds of light,
treating all people the same.
And when I come over the hill,
I see the house, with its generous
and firm proportions, smoke
rising gaily from its chimney.
I feel my life start up again,
like a cutting when it grows
the first pale and tentative
root hair in a glass of water.