Tuesday Poem: Homing, by Helen Lowe


He hears it, in every slap
of wave against wood,
as the ship cleaves water
like a seabird, hears the word
that he has hungered for
through the lost years,
whispered to him now
by the sea as it bears him up,
speeds him on like a lover
to the consummation
of his long-held dream
of home: home, lilts the sea,
soft as a lullaby, and home,
sings the wind, slipping
through rigging, soothing
him to rest, not to wake
even as a clear dawn
pares away night, reveals
rocky shores and a green crag
rising, not even to stir
when they lift him
over the bulwark and down,
splashing through shallows
to leave him on shadowed sand,
tender as a child smiling
in his sleep, and dreaming,
dreaming still
of the long returning.

Published in JAAM 26 2008 (Aug/Sept). Reproduced by permission of the author.

Tim says:

Helen Lowe, who has recently joined the Tuesday Poets, wrote “Homing” as part of her “Ithaca Conversations” series, and I chose it – along with another poem and a story by Helen – for inclusion in JAAM 26, which I guest-edited. I was very impressed by the poems and the short fiction she submitted for that issue, and even more impressed when I found out about her most accomplished novels.

A couple of weeks ago, I published Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Ulysses” as my Tuesday Poem for the week. “Homing” is a fitting modern companion to that great Victorian poem.

Helen has now posted a companion post to “Homing” on her blog – well worth reading!

8 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem: Homing, by Helen Lowe

  1. I love the lilt and tilt of this poem – the repetitions and powerful verbs, such as 'cleave' and pares', interspersed by more gentle ones.It has the rhythm of the ocean in its rigging. Thanks Helen – thanks Tim.

  2. I have always liked this poem, and its \”wine dark sea\” flavour.Thanks for posting it Tim!I see that Helen has another one from the Ithaca Conversations series up on her blog.

  3. Thanks for these comments, everyone. Andrew, I've now added a link to Helen's post about Ithaca Conversations at the end of my post. The conversation continues!

  4. There's something hypnotic in the cadence of the poem, like the effect of staring too long at waves, then past them into the horizon.Oh, and I read Kay's comment; I so definitely agree.Thanks for featuring this poem, Tim. I'll follow now the link you've provided, to the companion post. Cheers.

  5. Thanks, S. L. Two very busy days have prevented me from catching up with most of the Tuesday poems from this week so far – I'm eagerly awaiting a bit of spare time so I can do so!

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