This poem was chosen as one of the 10 poems circulated on postcards in celebration of National Poetry Day in Scotland 2010. The poems can also be sent as e-cards from the Scottish Poetry Library website. “Building Vocabulary” originally appeared in Wish I Was Here: A Scottish multicultural anthology. The book was accompanied by a travelling exhibition of portraits of the poets, and so we had the strange experience of going to the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh to see my portrait!
Building Vocabulary by Christine Laennec
Who would have thought
I’d have to come
so far from home
to find a word that perfectly captures
the voiceless ache
of having left?
Strange that I should
in a language where
you can never be home,
but only going
Cianalas [Gaelic]: homesickness, longing, loneliness, melancholy
A’dol dhachaidh: going home(wards)
© Christine Laennec 2000.