The Dig. {poetry}


There is a word in Welsh that so perfectly describes the delicate fabric of my inner compass: Hiraeth.

A longing for a home you can never return to. A home that may never have existed.

I’m an immigrant, but my restless intimacy with emotional loss of place has not been dictated by where I was born or where I reside now. It is a state of being, and at times, it has felt like a state of unraveling.

By placing an ocean between who I was and who I have become, I have often pondered the concept of belonging. Where is my home? Is it contained within bricks and mortar? Is it the country of my birth? Is it the place inside my heart where I feel the most authentic version of myself? Is it none of these or all of the above?

My soul’s search for a place to belong, a place where I wouldn’t feel afraid to be myself, has made me equal parts small and large. Vacillating between the fight to be seen and heard, whilst fearing being too big, too much. Wishing for validation, while sabotaging my own forward progress.

But something is shifting inside of me. Instead of knocking on doors, asking to be invited in, I’m moving on and I’m traveling light. I am finally embracing my wanderlust, my love of adventure, and I’m looking ahead. A life’s story is written in the footnotes, and credit must be given to the teachers who mirrored back everything we needed to learn. Including ourselves. So I’m leaning into that.

In the end, perhaps home is simply the emotional state in which we find ourselves traveling through life. No matter where we go, there we are. We can’t outrun the past. We can’t outrun the pain. We can’t outrun ourselves, but we can choose to carry all that we are and simply house it.

Home is where I meet myself.


The Dig

If pieces of me
are to be dug up,
I want them to be worn
by the elements
and time.

each of my parts
wrapped in the soft cloth
of earth
and brushed off
with reverence.

And it’s okay
that I am rusty,
that the iron and bone of me
is weathered
for that is where my heart lives;
burrowed in the soft, peat moss
of my homeland
and the wild sage
of California.

I am a traveler,
I dance between

the purple wildness
of ancient wars,
highlands battle-scarred with
fierce remembrance
and gentle rains,
dovetailed to the tang and salt
of summer surf
and long nights,
where coyotes bark
the circadian song of crickets
into dawn.

I am a daughter of Tir na mBan,
where wild women
traverse the earth,
scattering poppy seeds
and tendrils of truth,
an emotional purgatory,
where things die
and are reborn
with untamed abandon.

Often when I lie down,
I am sinking into
a million quiet deaths,
preparing to be dust

but I do not ask to be buried,
I ask to be of this dirt
that has claimed me
and seeped into my ether,
so if you find me underground
perhaps I am journeying
deeper into myself,
to find the soft home
I am seeking.


Elle Newlands is a hybrid, which makes her complicated, but she is okay with that. An actress, photographer and writer, she spends her days juggling characters, words and pictures. Originally from Scotland, she is currently enjoying the sunshine of California, where she hikes with her dog, rides her horse in the mountains and talks to nature. You could contact her via Facebook or Instagram.


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