Poetry: My Home | clivejames.com
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My Home

Grasping at straws, I bless another day
Of having felt not much less than all right.
I wrote a paragraph and put some more
Books in a box for books to throw away.
Such were my deeds. Now, short of breath and sore
From all that effort, I prepare for night,
Which occupies the windows as I climb
The stairs. A step up and I stand, each time,

Posed like the statue of a man in pain,
Although I’m really not: just weak and slow.
This is the measure of my dying years:
The sad skirl of a piper in the rain
Who plays ‘My Home’. If I seem close to tears
It’s for my sins, not sickness. Soon the snow
Will finish readying the ground for spring.
The cold, if not the warmth that it will bring,

Is made, each day, so clearly manifest
I thank my lucky stars for second sight.
The children of our street head off for school
Most mornings, stronger for their hours of rest.
Plump in their coloured coats they prove a rule
By moving brilliantly through soft white light:
We fade away, but vivid in our eyes
A world is born again that never dies.

Note (from Collected Poems)

In Kogarah I went to the local Presbyterian church and was therefore subjected to quite a lot of pipe-band music, a massed caterwaul marching and counter-marching seemingly without end. The only bearable number was the lament ‘My Home’, perhaps because there was only one set of pipes playing it. As I recall, it was played at the funerals of both King George VI and Winston Churchill, and on each occasion I grew wet-eyed watching.