The dream of the homeland
Recently I’ve been re-reading Poem for the Day One edited by Nicholas Albery. Today’s poem is a section of Rupert Brooke‘s ‘The Old Vicarage: Grantchester‘ written in 1912 while he was on a long journey in Germany. . It starts:-
Ah God! to see the branches stir
Across the moon at Grantchester.
In this expression of homesickness he describes the beauties of rural England in detail. It sounds idyllic.
Reading it I began to wonder how much of the idealisation of homeland/motherland/fatherland is created not by those in it but by those away. I suspect that most countries have a body of nostalgic literature, often poetry, written by the exiled, the war bound or the long-time traveller.
Such idylls are very pervasive. Do they still affect the way people vote or even fight?
Homecoming was one of the highest values heralded at least as far back as the ancient Greeks…I too have wondered about the value of homeland, and our problematic tendency to assume no ill of where we are from.