Home, Hackneyed Home
Towards it the ploughman is wearily plodding
As hunters come back from the hill;
There, pigeons are roosting and horses are heading
And a poet lies down with a will.
It's there that the heart is and fires are kept burning,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
The goal of the wanderer's footsteps returning
No matter how weary the way.
It may be the Mountains of Mourne or Kentucky
The place that the singer loves best,
Set deep in Welsh valleys or windswept on Islay,
That little grey dream in the west.
To each native Englishman his is a castle
The focus of thoughts from abroad,
He knows it is where he'll find comforts not hassle
Right on at the end of the road.
There's no place that's like it and there's no mistaking
The welcoming sign on its mat,
The sound of its voices, the taste of its baking -
No wonder you're sick for all that.
Its truths, though, you'll find can be ruthlessly stated,
Reality then is laid bare:
The folk you'd avoid, if they weren't related,
Are waiting en masse for you there.
(first published in the Literary Review)