NaPoWriMo Day 28

Today’s prompt started with a piece of writing from the Emily Dickinson museum and then an exhortation to “Describe a bedroom from your past in a series of descriptive paragraphs or a poem. It could be your childhood room, your grandmother’s room, a college dormitory or another significant space from your life.

A few years ago, I researched Emily Dickinson when I was teaching one of her poems in the WJEC Poetry Anthology for English Literature and then wrote a short story which was an imaginative response to her life. It was a project I really enjoyed and I learned a lot of fascinating facts about the woman who is now one of America’s most well loved poets. Since I’d already written a creative piece from Emily’s perspective, including descriptive passages about the place where she lived and her bedroom, I decided to write a poem for today’s prompt (after all, we’re in NaPoWriMo months, not NaPa(ragraph)WriMo), and I based it on the first bedroom I can remember sleeping in as a child.

My earliest memories

are of the room I shared with my brother:

‘Irish twins’, born at

each end of the same year,

he was my partner-in-crime

just as I was his.


In the front bedroom of

the tiny terraced house,

we would lie awake for hours

at night – he in his

bed and I in mine –

telling each other stories,

thinking up new



If you asked me now to describe

the room, all I can tell you

is that his bed was in one

corner and mine in the


Whether or not we had any furniture,

I couldn’t say:

all I know is that for the seven

years we shared a room, he was

the first person I spoke to every


and the last person at night.


I remember Christmas morning as a four year old and

tearing up my new ‘Twinkle’ annual to make

pretend bus tickets – he had

a bus conductor’s outfit at the end of

his bed.

I remember playing with matches,

lighting one and letting it burn right down

to my finger tip as I lay under the


I remember his ridiculous nightmare about a

wolf putting milk in his ear –

but the room itself escapes me. It wasn’t the room

that was important back then,

but the brother who shared it with me

and the childhood memories that we


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