by Helen Bluesky

I walked the halls of my old friend's home;
it sang more of my childhood than did my own.

The walls were heavy with the smell of damp and coal,
but bright and lively with memories; our childhood of old.

Amplifying the laughter of children and buried shoes,
that pattern paved their way; away from troubling news.

Then for supper, upside-down laundry tubs – they are our stool at the table,
'if we fits, we sits' and all nine of us are able.

Endless riches of unconditional love meet you at Greenhill's home,
Friendship, sanctuary and mischief, deep set within each stone.

It is a safe-house of rest when your heart is exhaust,
The door always open, a home for the lost.

©Helen Bluesky, 2023

This poem was longlisted as part of the Kinship: Poems Exploring Belonging project. Click here to find out more about the project, and other poems on the longlist here.


Concepts of belonging and community have constantly evolving definitions, and have been at the centre of fierce debate in recent years. The first twenty-three years of the new millennium have seen a rise in rhetoric aimed at those without the voice to argue back, and waves of toxic abuse have proliferated – and genocide. How relevant, then, to unite and raise our voices, to celebrate the rich tapestry of humanity, and to explore the labels we use to identify and express ourselves.

Kinship is a poetry anthology that seeks to provide a platform for marginalised voices, and to celebrate the great diversity and rich variation in the identities of people from around the world and from a huge cross-section of walks of life.

Click here for the anthology of shortlisted poems.