This is a repeat poem. You know, I'm chasing the old familiars... This week has been emotional. The Canadian election made me feel (for the first time in Canada) a diluted version of how I feel about Irish politics - one of the things I was happy to escape when I emigrated. And the past hit home this week in other ways too.
I thought about people in my past and probably dwelled too much on my own regrettable behaviour. I replayed moments that make me wince. (Do we all have those moments?) And I was left with a sorry impression of myself. I thought about how, by truncating our lives in one place, we create a false ending and lose all sense of evolution. Things stay in our memories as they were left. And we see ourselves suspended in that time, sometimes beautifully and sometimes terribly.
This poem is by my favourite, 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.