Each year BBC Local Radio teams up with specially chosen poets to create sparkling new poems for broadcast on National Poetry Day. This year, as Grand Bard of Exeter, I was chosen to represent Devon, to write a poem that challenges stereotypes and celebrates the delights of the County
Because You Invited Me (full version)
by Kimwei McCarthy
Home Truths poem for Devon
Invite me over to your favourite cafe
somewhere on the river Dart
where it trickles between our past and our future,
or invite me to your house
where it rests like a barnacle on a hilltop
near a stone circle
where we shall take tea together.
In ancient times you moved the earth
turning woodland to moorland,
clearing pastures for grazing
just so you could live together,
allowing the wildness of gorse and heather
to care for itself
whilst caring for you.
Then, you stopped being so careful
and began building cities,
cutting through this county,
cutting through each other with big ideas
until you were burning and hanging women,
Now you are sorry
and honour those killed
and welcome magic back
and remember who you were before that all started
with every moment that you invite me in.
Bring out your finest china
and tell me the story of an outcast wife
who won back her family
by returning from exile
with the secret of clotted cream –
tell me to remind me that this place is my home,
as you take up the butter-knife,
spread a cloud on a scone,
place it in my hand.
I hold it up to the window,
so it seems to twin a cloud in the sky
and I think how similar two things can be and how different
and yet how right they can look next to each other.
How startling it is when we can belong together
because you invited me.