Philip Larkin. ‘Home is so Sad’.
Philip Larkin. ‘Home is so Sad’.
Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft
And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:
Look at the pictures and the cutlery,
The music in the piano stool. That vase.
What: You don’t let yourself leave the keyboard each day until you’ve hit 2,000 words. (I am converting that to 500 words due to its being a blog not a novel.)
Hmm 500 words and its evening. That should keep me going. I am going to read that poem one more time and then not look at it while I go for the 500 words. Right then.
Home. Tonight I passed the home where my sister and her family and my father and mother lived for many years. My mother and father are gone now and the Poms sold the house a year or so back. During the last 12 months, the new people pulled out the gardens, hacked down the palm trees and exposed the bare underbelly of the house to passers by. I don’t feel sad about it tonight although I did when I first saw the hacking going on.
It simply makes me thoughtful at the moment. We had a pool there. An above ground pool. It was there for years and the children all learned to swim in it. Summertimes we all came home from the places we were living in and laughed a lot and swam a lot and are a lot. It’s a different shape now. The ashes of Winnie the Dog are in the yard and I think that some of my parents’ ashes might be in that yard as well. Wonder why they pulled out the garden.
My sister had planted magnolias and bamboos and all manner of exotic and beautiful plants.
I left another home today as well. A shorter term home in Bello where my granddaughter spent her first year. Today we took her for lunch at the Gelato Bar while the adults cleaned the house ready for inspection. They didn’t live there long but it has been the home of the Baby. Up the end of North Bank Road from my place.
I have been back to the house where I grew up only once as an adult. Not that long ago either. It still curved a little round my own shape after all this time despite the concrete front fence. The railway line still runs past it. my bedroom remains my bedroom. I could see the neighbourhood men chasing off the gang of kids that years back were trashing the letterboxes and cars. Men who normally didn’t socialise. They chased those lads round the corner and out of the street.
The poem is called HOME SO SAD and I guess it is sad sometimes and for a time but all my homes are part of me now. All my homes and the homes I have stayed in and visited.
Out the back of no 16 Dowle Street, is a little owl and a rock garden. I left there in the mid 90s and I don’t intend to go back because, for me, there is a little owl and a rock garden.
I am not going back to 71/6 Wauchope Crescent in South Coogee either. The balcony on the 3rd floor is still there for me. And the schoolboys calling me “ Watch the Road Mrs Braithwaite !”
On the hill in Bilambil, my cottage sits. It looks out over the world. My little one said when she first saw it, “ You can see everything God can see from up here. “
Everything God can see. Now that’s Home.
ONE WORD TO THE WISE – DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE STORYTELLER.
HOMES OF MINE.
Red Hill, Brisbane.