I'm so happy to share with you a long overdue poem for our poetry series with Kate! This poem captures the odd mix of happiness and sadness that make up nostalgia. Have you ever felt that after discovering and falling in love with a new place?
Words by Kate Lindblom
If you ever travel to England,
don't forget to pack
a pair of long, wooly socks
and an overcoat
for the July weather.
Bring a sturdy coin purse
for all the pounds and the pence
you'll constantly examine and trade.
Don't worry. They will have things
like cats and postage stamps
and small rocks and windows
and drops of dew like you're used to.
Your homesickness will be brief.
You won't need a translator
to understand British words and phrases
such as “bits and bobs” or “popping in.”
But do understand that “party favors”
can mean more
than colorful streamers and paper hats.
If you see citizens enjoying picnics in a graveyard
with their blue bicycles propped against headstones,
Do not be alarmed.
Also, try not to feel uneasy
eating some grapes
or buying a trinket
or simply sitting down
in a building older than your known family tree.
Remember: it's not a museum, it's for living.
And it doesn't need a power washing.
Try the leek soup,
try the blood pudding,
try the crumpets,
try the grilled tomatoes.
You'll find them
perhaps in that order.
the British love affair with
red and black currants
and crisps that taste like prawns
and not ketchup.
You should just start loving and expecting
hot beverages like you might a pleasant breeze.
Embrace coffee and tea and milk and cubes of sugar
as you already do biscuits.
Enjoy hard cider,
its sweetness and tartness and sparkle combined.
Enjoy the Devonshire cream
which you never knew existed
and which will be hard to find
back in the States.
Go ahead and take 42 rolls of film.
You'll want to remember
that amount of snails in one place
and the way the sunlight shone on the grass
that one afternoon.
You'll need to show you were at King's Chapel,
and Windsor Castle too,
whether the queen was or not.
You'll try to capture the feelings you'll have:
awe, confusion, delight, camaraderie,
true and constant.
You will not fully succeed
but the images will help combat the sadness
after you have left.