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.– Philip Larkin.
After years of travelling disturbed the inner compass of my child, he impulsively asked me one morning “where is home?”, to which I replied “home is where your mummy and daddy are”.
What his mum and I provide are nurture and an upbringing. So I suppose if my answer was extrapolated into a future where my son was no longer dependent, it would sound something like “home is where you find a job, and where your values are upheld”.
There will be no attachment to a mythical notion of the state in our household. There will be no singing about historical tombstones and imagined meadows. There will be no lamenting over the glory and grandeur that never were, nor over the power and prosperity that might never be.
“Go join the Grand Exodus,” I will say with flailing arms, “and never look back lest you turn into a pillar of salt.”
Several friends were recently sighing about the Exodus; the departure of disillusioned “revolutionary” brethren who basked in the rays of aspiration many a day in the Square, and who had their lungs’ fill of tear gas as their vociferous voices grew hoarse.
Everyone now seems to be looking for a way out. The leviathan has triumphed. “Flee from the land of the North,” declared the Lord, as young Egyptians scatter to the four winds, “for those on whose behalf you revolted have emphatically refused you. And those whom you revolted against remain, steadfastly, revolting.”
Those who abscond talk of wandering silently into the night away from the ruptured dawn, of upended dreams caught in the whirlwinds of dizzying reality, of a feeble flaccid naivety crushed by the stiff resistance of the inner state.
Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? Evidently, the revolution must therefore decamp.
I empathise with those who left, sympathise with those who remain, and have nothing but respect for those who willingly choose to hang on to a slither of hope, and share in a belief that all is not lost, and that the broiling pot will stir anew.
But there is no room left in me for hollow patriotism and asinine sentiments about “home”, preferred burial plots, or the “state” that must ultimately prevail.
Go hither and yon, those who can, for home is either an abode of respite or a dwelling of buoyant labour. But when your surroundings lend to neither, flee, my boy, flee.