“At Home”, by Christina Rossetti

When I was dead, my spirit turned
To seek the much-frequented house
I passed the door, and saw my friends
Feasting beneath green orange-boughs;
From hand to hand they pushed the wine,
They sucked the pulp of plum and peach;
They sang, they jested, and they laughed,
For each was loved of each.

 

I listened to their honest chat:
Said one: “To-morrow we shall be
Plod plod along the featureless sands,
And coasting miles and miles of sea.”
Said one: “Before the turn of tide
We will achieve the eyrie-seat.”
Said one: “To-morrow shall be like
To-day, but much more sweet.”

 

“To-morrow,” said they, strong with hope,
And dwelt upon the pleasant way:
“To-morrow,” cried they, one and all,
While no one spoke of yesterday.
Their life stood full at blessed noon;
I, only I, had passed away:
“To-morrow and to-day,” they cried;
I was of yesterday.

 

I shivered comfortless, but cast
No chill across the table-cloth;
I, all-forgotten, shivered, sad
To stay, and yet to part how loth:
I passed from the familiar room,
I who from love had passed away,
Like the remembrance of a guest
That tarrieth but a day.

– Christina Rossetti

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2 thoughts on ““At Home”, by Christina Rossetti

  1. The brevity of life and the ease with which we forget people who pass away; indeed this seems to me to be more of a commentary on the living than the dead. A commentary on the living’s constant pursuit of pleasure, our need to blunt the sharp edge of reality, and our many wiles for self-glorification, and possibly fear of the past…

    Matt, in my need for good conversation I am going to try to post some comments and thoughts on your posts. Since Mark has left I have no one who retains my interest in Theology and simple Philosophical musings, I feel my soul is shriveling; and actually I never really had a whole lot of opportunity to talk with him when he was here.

    I hope all is well. Krista really misses Molly. Maybe you could come back and be a teaching pastor at Saylorville, we are in desperate need here; it has only been discouragement as of late. And dare I say we are starting to see the effects of Mark’s departure from the pastoral staff in the lack of Theological acumen in the sermons and on the whole. The lone “reformed voice” is gone and I think we have all suffered because of it though most probably don’t see it…

  2. Jordan, I’d love that. As to the latter suggestion, I think that’s more than unlikely… 🙂

    As to the poem, it’s definitely a criticism of the attitude that there is tomorrow and that it will be better. She doesn’t seem to think highly of her friends. But having a just general familiarity with Rossetti, I wonder if there is also some of her own melancholy showing through–supposing that her friends will cease to love her when she’s gone? In other words, she imagines her death to be the point where she passes away from love too. There’s perhaps a bit of self-pity here. By my reading that there’s not much of her Christianity in this poem.

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