Home has forever been defined for me by lines from a Robert Frost poem
and the clicking of two ruby shoes.
The poem is Death of a Hired Man
the words are found close to the end of the poem
I cried the hardest I think I ever had the first time I read it
Not for the hired man
I wasn’t yet eight
and the edges of my world were just beginning to curve;
the gravity of my situation spinning less around me
and more around others
as my galaxy gave forth to wider humane scape.
I did not cry for the hired man, I cried for me.
Knowing for sure
that in this world, I had no home
“Warren,’ she said, ‘he has come home to die:
You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.’
‘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
then was the hound that came a stranger to us
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.’
For everything in my world was earned
(or so I was told and chose to believe)
from the ample bruises to the sparse hugs
and when life was moonlit only and clouds hid even that,
I knew no arms would
take me in..
So in answer to that knowledge I have taken in all hounds,
harbored the homeless
loved the strangers
pillowed the head of all the hired men my home,
my arms and fires could warm.
but never found
my own home.
Then there were the two ruby shoes
and there “No Place Like Home” magic,
so far as I could see
the red shoes brought Dorothy back to the same grey places
the same tired faces
from first viewing at four to somewaht past ten
I knew I would not use those shoes at all.
I sang and dreamed of that place Over the Rainbow
so much like my father’s heaven,
yet different, more like Frost’s home, unearned.
Dorothy was no witch at all, just a simple little girl
And knew if I had those shoes
I would not come back to my grey life again.
Perhaps it was the song by America, but probably not
I think the lyrics by rote came first, the wisdom came years later
all I know is somewhere as I grew
Oz began to mean a place where I learned what I already knew
appreciated what I already had
my smallness by a journey made greater.
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