Posted by: Viola | August 28, 2015

Where is home?

Last week, I read quite a bit of Rumi. I love the Sufi poetry of Rumi and Hafiz, and last week, desperate for something to enrich me and soothe my soul, I grabbed the collection of Rumi poems on my shelf that I had not yet read.

Reading these poems was a magical experience. Rumi’s poems have a way of bringing me home to myself, to a serene place within me. I feel myself deeply pacified, as I read through the poems. I feel, in a sense, that I am coming home. I don’t know for sure where I am going, where I will wind up, what it will look like when I get there, but as I journey through Rumi’s words, I feel and trust that I am going to a good place and all will be well. I come home, within the pages of the book. I come home, within the lines of some of my favorite poems of his. That’s me. I come home to books and to poetry.

For so many of us, home is a physical place. I peopled place, in the physical world. Home is our country, home is our town or village, home is the house we grew up in, home is the house we still live in or hope to die in. For people who are part of a diaspora, a movement in which one might be exiled or removed from one’s childhood home for long stretches of time, the sense of having a physical homeland can be intensified, can be so acute it leaves one breathless at the thought or sight of that old home. The attachment to that old home is so strong, so overwhelming–it defines almost everything. The old home is recreated, talked about, revisited (in real life and in the imagination), is invested in financially and emotionally, is given much honor and much criticism, is give so much love and longing–almost constantly, in countless different ways.

But is that old home really a home? Just because it once was does not mean it will always be, does not mean it even was the best home there could be. And is the new home, in a foreign land, a true home? Just because the new home is new does not mean it is less of a home than the old and does not necessarily make it better than the old. But the new could be good. It certainly could. The new home could be a peopled place, a beloved place, a place of love and dreams and memories and stories. The new home, above all, could be a safe place. A place free of war, strife, injustice, fear, cruelty, rage, sorrow, hunger. A safe, very safe place. A peaceful place. A land of opportunity. New, radical opportunity. Like the opportunity to speak freely. To live. Freely. To think. Freely.

And a real home–a true home–may not be a physical place. It could be the eyes of your beloved, when you gaze at each other. It could be the smile and embrace of your child, first thing in the morning. It could be the flowers in your garden, when you tend to them. It could be the pages of a book or a poem. You pause, wherever your life has brought you, and you look around. And suddenly, before you have a chance to miss something old, the beauty of the new envelopes you. The stillness of it comes upon you and folds you in its warmth. You are lost in this new bliss, this ecstasy that blooms around you. You, the wanderer. You are home now. You, the sometimes homeless one. You are home now. You are not in Cameroon. You are far from. Cameroon. But you are home. Now. And you know it in your blood. You know it in your bones. You are home.

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Responses

  1. Brilliant. Thanks for putting into words feelings sometimes difficult to express for wanderers like us… Thank you.

    • Beautifully said! Thank you so much for sharing your words with me. As much as I dwell in the house of poetry, I am also a wanderer–even if mostly in my imagination. 🙂 ❤


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