Poem: “At Home”

At Home

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 tablecloth;
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

Christina was born in London, England in 1830. Though she suffered poor health and had bouts with Graves’ disease, which ended her work as a governess and restricted her social life, she continued to write poems. She developed cancer and died in London on December 29, 1894. Her poetry is marked by symbolism and intense feeling. She is best known for her ballads and her mystic religious lyrics. She is considered a major Victorian poet.