Sunday Poem – Melissa Lee-Houghton

Hello everyone – This will be my last update before Christmas Day – tomorrow we are off down to Leicester to my parents for Christmas.  I don’t know what the drive is going to be like, as looking at the news it seems like we would be better to load up a canoe and paddle down – I’m hoping that the M6 is fairly ok! 

This last week of term has been really busy – lots of Christmas concerts with various schools and with my band and lots of extra rehearsals as well.  Normally I have to admit, the last week of term is a bit of a write off, as the children are normally going on trips or doing more exciting things than having a trumpet lesson, but this year it hasn’t been like that at all.  I’ve also, with the help of a couple of parents moved the Junior Band to a different venue – from now on we will be rehearsing at Ormsgill Primary School – I can’t wait to start rehearsing in the new venue – I think the kids will really like it – for one its not freezing cold, or in an archery range, so that’s an improvement right?

Christmas is going to be a bit weird this year because my twin sister is going to her husband’s parents house for Christmas and we are all meeting up in a cottage in Wales for New Year – but this will be the first Christmas Day without her.  My oldest sister and three of her children and her husband have gone to Australia over Christmas as well, so they won’t be around in Leicester, so I think it’s going to be a quieter Christmas than usual. 

So I thought I would post this beautiful poem up by Melissa Lee-Houghton which I imagine is about sisters, althought it could just as easily be brothers I suppose.  There aren’t many poems about sisters, or a sibling relationship – I think this poem is unusual in its honesty – it looks unflinchingly at its subject – that reoccuring line ‘Our parents loved us in different ways’ is heartbreaking – yet holds a universal truth.  And does she mean each parent loved them differently, or does she mean the parents loved the two of them differently?  I don’t know, the line is ambiguous, which is part of its strength.  In fact the whole poem is mysterious – but the circularity of the lines keep the reader grounded – it is one of those poems which throws up lots of questions every time I read it – but I don’t want to know the answers. 

I met Melissa when we were both reading at an Inpress event in London in the summer and I’ve really enjoyed reading her collection ‘ A Body Made Of You’ from Penned in the Margins which can be ordered from .  I’ve been meaning to ask her for a poem from this book, but then I spotted the poem that I’ve chosen in the Estuary Anthology which I’ve blogged about before on here – this poetry and art anthology with lots of writers and artists work can be ordered from

Melissa also has a fantastic blog which can be found at

I hope you enjoy the poem, and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas – I’ll be doing my round up of the year in between Christmas Day and New Year!

How We Are The Same – Melissa Lee-Houghton

We have different skin types.
Our parents loved us in different ways.
Your hair is darker, your greys pushing through
and I’ve started dyeing mine just to feel different.
Our parents loved us in different ways.
We have different skin types,
different eyes, different mouths,
there’s always a tension in mine, a shy smile.
You always had the confidence.
Your chestnut hair is starting to grey.
I’ve started dyeing mine.
We’re both short, but you ‘re thin and I’m plump.
You’ve always been there in a crisis.
Our parents loved us in different ways.
It’s cold, and I’m thinking of you, how you
wear flip-flops in Autumn.
We both have different skin types.
We’re both pale, but you tan better.
We do not know where our father is.
Our parents loved us in different ways.

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