Home is Where the Heart Is

I considered some of the many poems (and especially songs) relating to this week’s theme.  Home is a common subject although not always a comfortable one for poets – Christina Rossetti is far from alone in connecting “going home” with death.

Songs about home and going home tend to be more upbeat.  I can’t claim to be a big John Denver fan but I do have a soft spot for Country  Roads (Take Me Home Country Road.)  This is entirely due to the version in the Japanese Studio Ghibli film, Whisper of the Heart and especially its use in the closing credits. I have watched this sequence innumerable times and entreat everyone to watch it right through to the end. It is not exactly literature, being wordless (apart from the song which doesn’t relate directly to the action) but it is storytelling and therefore writing.

The story is simple – just what happens in the evening on a Tokyo street – but to me is absolutely beautifully done.   Overweight salarymen get of their buses, some members of a running club run by.  A girl lets her friends walks on and waits, looks a bit pensive, has she been stood up? No! here comes a boy running, he must have got delayed. They greet each other with a demure Japanese bow and walk off, the boy declaiming about something.

I meant to link the video and beg everyone to watch it but it seems to have vanished from YouTube, so the best I can do is offer this scene in which Shizuku, the young protagonist, sings her version of Country Roads to the accompaniment of Seiji’s violin accompaniment. Violin maker Seiji’s grandfather and his friends steal  in, grab their own instruments, and play along.

I look forward to seeing what our writers make of, “Home is Where the Heart Is.”

4 thoughts on “Home is Where the Heart Is

  1. From Urszula

    Home is where the heart is

    At first this title upset me
    I felt my heart has been removed
    I am left with a home
    The home we bought and built together
    I have my memories here
    Many photographs
    All his letters packed neatly in a case
    In a fireproof safe

    Our first home was a council flat
    We got it with Bill’s teaching job
    It was just an empty shell near Romford
    We brought a couple of old chairs and a table
    Down from Manchester after getting married at Christmas
    We also picked up an old studio couch from a neighbour’s garden
    Which would serve as a bed for a month
    While waiting for our new one to arrive
    Later that served as a sofa for sitting on

    We went to the electricity shop and
    Got a cooker, fridge and washing machine on hire purchase
    Yes we were very short of money
    Having just started work
    We bought a couple of eight by six
    Sheets of chipboard and made
    An unvarnished shelving unit for storage
    Later we bought a small black and white television

    We were happy in our first home
    Visiting family in Manchester and Shipston on Stour
    We bought an old second hand Transit van
    Put the studio lounge mattress in the back
    Borrowed a camping gas cooker and
    Enjoyed holidays in Wales

    Having finished his probationary year
    Bill applied for a head of science of post
    In Leamington Spa Warwickshire
    So we moved again in winter
    Bill’s family managed to find our next home
    It was a farm worker’s cottage on a farm
    The workers lived in modern houses
    We were given some old armchairs and a sofa
    And did not need to buy any furniture
    There was a bedroom and big landing upstairs
    And large kitchen and sitting room downstairs
    I painted the walls so it looked presentable

    The kitchen window looked out into the cow yard
    The cows walked past and licked the window.
    We were very close to the huge manure heap
    The drive in front of our only door
    Was very muddy
    At first I did not have a job
    The bus at the end of the farm road came twice a week
    It was quite lonely

    One time on opening the front door
    We were faced with a drive full of
    Thousands of rag tailed maggots
    Each about four inches long moving along
    All hatching out of the manure heap
    It looked like something out of a horror film
    We closed the door but they were coming in
    Creeping under the door and going behind the wallpaper
    We tried to hide upstairs
    As I was then working in vegetable research station
    I took some specimens in and the entomologist
    Explained they were the gentle hover flies

    Another time we opened the door and
    Found a young bull rampaging in the drive
    We shut the door and hoped it would not break it down
    Rang up the cowman who came over
    Kicked the bull and put him back in the yard
    Next day we saw the bull with a ring through its nose

    We managed to get a mortgage and bought a modern house
    Just before the birth of our daughter
    So then we were three

    Again Bill applied for a new post and again in winter
    We moved to another modern house near Nottingham
    Where we lived for the next thirty years
    Spending our holidays usually in Scotland
    Our daughter went off to work in London
    So we were down to two of us

    When we retired we decided to look at living in Scotland
    We found we could afford to buy a house in the Outer Hebrides
    It took us a few years but we finally bought a house on the Isle of Lewis
    After commuting to Nottingham regularly as
    My parents were in a care home
    We eventually settled permanently in the Western Isles

    We enjoyed our life here
    Walking gardening keeping bees
    Looking after flock of ducks
    Socializing with chickens geese and sheep
    Despite the changeable weather storms and gales

    Eventually we had to sell the car as Bill battled with Parkinson’s
    We still managed to get out with wheelchair and
    A good befriender took us out in a minibus
    Later it was spells in hospital and carers coming in
    The disease took its toll and took Bill away from us

    So that is why I am left behind in our home by myself
    Building a new life with community support
    But I know that

    He is here
    In my heart
    Forever mine
    He is home
    In my heart forevermore

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Donna has sent in this evocative poem:

    As the ferry leaves the harbour
    There is sadness in your heart
    But then you remember it’s for a brand new start
    All your life you were told life, is better on the mainland.
    So off you go to give it a try if I don’t like it I can come home
    The advert was in the stornoway Gazette
    The Craig mhor hotel in gairloch.
    Harry Davis is the owner
    He used to play for rangers.
    The hotel itself has 15 rooms
    And Joan and I were excited,
    This might be a brand new start,
    But home is where the heart is.

    By Donna keenan.


    By Mairi Cable

    I was borne in Upper Carloway in my mothers’ family home. I don’t know how long I was there for but two of my brothers Uisdean and Alex were born in Sand Street. I don’t remember much about that but there is a picture of me walking down the road in a very fetching coat. My brother Ranold was born in Carloway again and my mother told me the story of the weather being so good that the wells were so dry that they had to walk miles for water,

    Maureen my sister was born in Inaclete and I have vague memories of that. We just had rented rooms in a full house. Then we moved to Macleod Rd, our first council house. We were a bit like Cathy Come Home moving from place to place. We went to Macleod Rd just after I went to school although I don’t remember the move. Uisdean, when I asked him said it was very spacious, bedrooms kitchen bathroom and living room. We spent many happy years there playing outside. Then when I was sixteen, we went to Springfield Road where I spent a lot of time in my bedroom listening to Radio Caroline. Happy days! Finally, we moved to Stewart Drive in 1972 or 3. I was home from university when the house was being built and took great delight in having our own private house. Home is where the heart is and I left a piece of my heart in all those homes. Where I live now is where my heart is.


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