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Now Returned Home Analysis

Author: poem of Robinson Jeffers Type: poem Views: 13

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Beyond the narrows of the Inner Hebrides

We sailed the cold angry sea toward Barra, where Heaval mountain

Lifts like a mast. There were few people on the steamer, it was late in the

   year; I noticed most an old shepherd,

Two wise-eyed dogs wove anxious circles around his feet, and a thin-armed


Who cherished what seemed a doll, wrapping it against the sea-wind. When

   it moved I said to my wife "She'll smother it."

And she to the girl: "Is your baby cold? You'd better run down out of the

   wind and uncover its face."

She raised the shawl and said "He is two weeks old. His mother died in

   Glasgow in the hospital

Where he was born. She was my sister." I looked ahead at the bleak island,

   gray stones, ruined castle,

A few gaunt houses under the high and comfortless mountain; my wife

   looked at the sickly babe,

And said "There's a good doctor in Barra? It will soon be winter." "Ah,"

   she answered, "Barra'd be heaven for him,

The poor wee thing, there's Heaval to break the wind. We live on a wee

   island yonder away,

Just the one house."

                  The steamer moored, and a skiff—what they call a

   curragh, like a canvas canoe

Equipped with oars—came swiftly along the side. The dark-haired girl

   climbed down to it, with one arm holding

That doubtful slip of life to her breast; a tall young man with sea-pale eyes

   and an older man

Helped her; if a word was spoken I did not hear it. They stepped a mast

   and hoisted a henna-color

Bat's wing of sail.

                  Now, returned home

After so many thousands of miles of road and ocean, all the hulls sailed in,

   the houses visited,

I remember that slender skiff with dark henna sail

Bearing off across the stormy sunset to the distant island

Most clearly; and have rather forgotten the dragging whirlpools of London,

   The screaming haste of New York.

Submitted by Holt


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