Home, Sweet Home
An Anthology of Poems
by Rebecca M

I never like to be far from here, a place where I feel comfortable, my home.  My family is here and my life is here. It is not just my house, it is my neighboorhood, my friends, family, and the old "hangout spots."  Whatever it may be, good or bad, it is a place that I know I belong.  During the summer, when I was younger, I would go to camp for two weeks.  Around eight or nine I stopped going to camp because I realized that I didn't want to be away from my everyday life that I had become familiar with, but rather find a closer connection to my surroundings. I wanted to get to know more neighborhood kids, find new places to go, and I even liked the idea of sitting on my dock, in the sun, and doing absolutely nothing.

I began to feel comfortable with my life in my hometown because each day became routine to me.  During fall, winter, and spring, I have my school schedule.  During the summer my schedule becomes much more relaxed and laid back.  Some people may find it dull that I don't have much change in my life, but I find it soothing that I know the main upcoming events in my life.  I also have become extremely familiar with my surroundings, realizing that all my senses, not just sight have come alive.  I am able to navigate my way around my house with my eyes closed because I am so familiar with my house.  If riding in a car half asleep, my body recognizes each bend in the road so that I can tell the exact moment that I pull up in front of my house.  The familiarity is one of the things that I find most comforting about my life at home.

All the poems in this collection interest me in one way or the other because they show some aspect of home.  Some of the poems show the scenery of the place where they grew up.  Others show the emotion that character displays about their home.  Some are about people leaving home, and some are about people longing to be home.  Many of the poems in this collection are about people remembering what it was like to be a child and growing up at home, and others are just reflecting on parts of their lives that took place at home.

There are poems in this collection where the poet remembers home for just the little things that made it special and that is why home was such an important aspect of their life.  Poet T. Hood writes about the simple things that remind him of home that he no longer feels or experiences:

I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day ...
T.  Hood continues this poem, Past and Present, with things that were significant to him in some way.  Like many poems he uses images that help you make a mental picture of where the poet is referring.

Another poet that also does this is Margaret Walker.  In her poem Southern Song, she uses images that awaken your mind and imagination to the images that she portrays:

I want my body bathed again by southern suns, my soul
Reclaimed again from southern land.  I want to rest
again in southern fields, in grass and hay and clover
bloom; to lay my hand again upon the clay baked by a
southern sun, to touch the rain-soaked earth and smell
the smell of soil.
The images that Margaret walker uses in this poem are some that make me believe that she is talking about her roots and her home and the place that she misses so much and longs to be.  The speaker of the poem seems to be telling someone close to her what her last wishes are.  She seems to want to find peace and want their "rest unbroken" (7) so that they may stay and watch forever nature taking its course (the corn wave silver in the sun, the splashing of a brook, and count the clouds (8-10)), all things that can be watched for an eternity.  The speaker, more than anything wants to be able to return to her home and be reunited with "the fusion of/ the South, my body's song and me." (15-16).  When reading this poem, you as the reader hope that the her wishes will come true and that she will return to the South.

Robert Hayden portrays some of the negative images that the speaker of his poem remembers.  For the speaker of this poem his home may not have the same memories as mine does for me.  In the poem Those Winter Sundays, Robert Hayden has the speaker even afraid of parts of his home.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
 fearing the chronic angers of that house ...
I find it sad that a place like home that can shape so much of who a child becomes, is feared.  The diction that Hayden uses portrays "home" sets a tone of a cold, un-welcomming, and unhappy place.  Cold splintering, breaking, slowly, fearing, and anger are all words that draw you in only to be a spectator of the scene, and then push you away so that you too don't have to feel the pain that the speaker does.

These poems made me think of a whole new part of being at home that I have never thought of before.  The poetry shows me that although there are some parts of my life that I don't like, they don't come close to the amount of things that I love and that I will miss when I am gone. I have arranged this collection of poems in no particular order.  Each persons expierace of there childhood is different.  Memories such as your first steps, your first bike ride, and your first kiss will come in a different order than the first expierances of  others.  For the reason that i don't believe that there should be a determined order for life, I wanted the poems to also be in a randome order.

These poems make me aware that I hope that if I do leave this place that I call home, that I will one day return.  I am curious to see that day, curious to see if I can still find my way around my house with my eyes closed, or recognize the bends in the road so that I can tell when I am home.   I hope that these are aspects of my childhood that I will never forget because they are what make the place where I grew-up so special.

Table of Contents
Southern Song Margaret Walker
Past and Present T. Hood
The Return John Forbes
The Closer You Get Angela Shaw
The Downtown Bus Wyatt Prunty
Echoes of Childhood Alice Corbin
Homecoming Eleanor Ross Taylor
Those Winter Sundays Rober Hayden
Home, Sweet Home John Howard Payne
You and I Are Disappearing Yusef Komunyakaa
The House That Was Laurence Binyon
My Lost Youth Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Bustle In A House Emily Dickinson