Home, viewed from Durham in 1966

On a hill above a valley lies the home where I grew up,
and the village, and the school where my first friends were made.
Then the world around me grew and the valley too was home.
Hundreds of miles I sometimes went from the valley, but that was home,
where I learned of the world, its size and its peoples,
and the tiny place that my home had in it all.
Then across the world I travelled,
and it grew to something more than just a lesson in my head,
and far from my old home, I made new friends.
Now often I travel the length of the land that now I think of as home,
but still one tiny corner, the hill and the valley below,
is dearer to me, and nearer my heart.
And not only this land,
but the world I begin to think of as home, as it surely will be one day,
as I travel again, far away from here.
But after it all, what then?

Only this:
the horizons that I’m learning
and will learn, are without limits or bounds,
will one day begin to narrow down as I grow old.
And so, I suppose,
just as once I thought of the valley
below the hill as something strange – to be feared,
there will come a time,
when again the world will be feared,
and only a tiny corner thought of as home.
I only hope, I earnestly hope
that I’ll see it then as I see it now –
that if I do grow old, and my mind
shrinks back, I’ll remember that
its only because I’m too big for the world,
and just as the foetus grows to a child to be born,
so I’ll see those last years,
as the last days spent in the womb before birth,
as a rest and a gathering together of strength,
for the greater world in which I’ll soon be,

with The Friend, the best friend of all.