Poems of home…

May 25, 2010

This year, National Poetry Day falls on Thursday 7 October, and the theme is ‘Home’. Past themes have included Heroes and Heroines (2009); Work (2008); Dreams (2007); Identity (2006); The Future (2005) and Food (2004). Lilias heralded the troops around the table yesterday for covert talks about what poems about home would work for our annual postcard series and why. Home means so many things to so many different people: where the heart is? wherever you lay your hat? ‘Where thou art, that is home.’ said Emily Dickinson. Douglas Dunn wrote ‘I live in you, you live in me’ in ‘Love Poem’. Home is ‘safe sounds’ and ‘the road that’s never dreary’. For some home is defined by not having one. So you see, in our house of poems, yesterday afternoon was a particularly pleasurable exercise in communing with our poetical ornaments, though finding favourites among so many riches is difficult.

We won’t be unveiling the choices for our cards just yet (they’ll be released in time for National Poetry Day and available for free for all, including those not in Scotland), but in the meantime, what poems about home do you like?

2 Responses to “Poems of home…”

  1. Marsha Howard Says:

    From “The Death of the Hired Man” by Robert Frost
    “Home,” he mocked gently.

    “Yes, what else but home?
    It all depends on what you mean by home.
    Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
    Than was the hound that came a stranger to us 120
    Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.”

    “Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
    They have to take you in.”

    “I should have called it
    Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.”

  2. Paavo J. Says:

    Oh I must speak. “New Home Cabaret” section in Kate Clanchy’s second (I think) collection “Samarkand” is quite beautiful. Have even translated “The Tree”, the last of the section and, indeed, the whole volume, in my native Finnish, so I hope the Poet herself is not offended if I here reproduce the last stanza, first original, then translation:

    We live here now, and though,
    elsewhere, a girl is leaning
    on a carriage window, her finger
    twisted round the rucksack packed
    with everything she owns —
    this is enough. We are
    the lights, the lights, the lights
    the trains flick by in the dark.


    Me asumme täällä nyt, ja vaikka,
    toisaalla, tyttö nojautuu
    vaunun ikkunaan, hänen sormensa
    kiertyneenä ylle repun pakatun
    kaikella minkä hän omistaa —
    tässä on kyllin. Me olemme
    valot, valot, valot
    junien pimeässä ohi vilkkumat.

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