By Pip Waller (Llangollen, Wales, UK) on her experience at the Sacred Fire Community Reunion 2012 at the Blue Deer Center in the Catskills of New York state.

Pip Waller (front) comes home as she dances with her community across the pond.

Reunion 2012

at the motorway services I stop and change into my sandals
the dust of the blue deer centre caresses my feet
You who were there will understand
how precious that medicine

Now home, my heart calls me straight to the high cliff
Every leaf in the hedge waves a welcome.
I walk barefoot, relishing the soft turf,
sharp stones, sheep shit- this is my place

a visitor in your country
I felt a sickness,
an outrage; dreadful and dizzying
until I came to the Blue Deer Centre
and the land, though not my land,
welcomed me in. Is this what you live with?

That hollowness. Is that what our people are
trying to fill with the whole super-size thing?
I saw a bird, you’ve called it ‘robin’ – some ancestor
longing for the small red-breasts of home
naming another’s place as theirs,
claiming a song as if you can
take what isn’t given. (As I do, every
day, trying in any wrong way I can
to take what isn’t given, to find Joy).

I understand exile, and have tried
every which way to get filled.
I’m always looking for what might be mine.
I have my own hollow place
vast and unforgiving.
I too have a sick culture all around me
urging me at every moment to take
more and more and more.

But the the dust on my shoes,
Fire wherever it comes,
shit on my soles, dipping
swallows laughing a welcome, the
wide weathery sky of home, and
above all, knowing that I am yours
and you (all) are mine:
this is what I truly need.

Read more Reunion Expressions.

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