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Thomas McGrath: Homecoming


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Thomas McGrath: Poems on war


Thomas McGrath
Homecoming (1946)

After the cries of gulls and the fogbound island;
After the last accident, the last suicide, the last alert;
After we had broken the ties of separation;
After the ship, projection of desire, and the homeward passage;

When the country opened up like a child’s picture book,
(The hills were colored by our loneliness, lakes by the years of exile)
Until geography began to reassume its civilian status
And the slight smell of death was lost in the untroubled darkness;

Then we were troubled by our second coming:
The thing that takes our hand and leads us home –
Where we must clothe ourselves in the life of a stranger
Whose name we carry but can no longer know –
Is a new fear born between the doorstep and the door
Far from the night patrol, the terror, the long sweat.

And far from the dead boy who left so long ago.

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