Death & Dying, Life & Living, Music, Poetry

homeward bound: poetic grief and hopeful song

160902 homeward bound

The vapour trails are scarcely visible in the image above, but they were as clear to me as the tattoo in the palm of my right hand as I watched these travellers cross the late summer sky less than three weeks after Mom died on August 17, 2016. Moved beyond measure in my grief, I composed the poem below in tears, just as I had when its mother (night flights to london) had been born  two years earlier. And then when I found the tune at the end? Well, just listen for yourself and see what happens…

homeward bound

a poem by punkie

my heart sails like
two flights at night
with vapour trails:
one pink, one white

you left me here
an orphan now
this bit you never
showed me how

sure you’d be gone
but why’d you leave
without some guide
on how to grieve?

you birthed me fine
and then you died
a lifetime scarce
to say goodbye

it seems unfair
that you should fly
and leave me here
alone to cry

i watch the jets
to london soar
while emptiness
fills up my core

then i recall
how once we ran
and fell in heaps
upon the sand

thank you for
those magic times
the love you spread
the nursery rhymes

i miss you as
i watch the sky
turn sunset into
stars that shine

one day soon when
the moon is round
instead of lost
i will be found

mothers daughters
become just one
and rest entwined
when life is done

here with me
sweet the sound
as angels sing us
homeward bound


Homeward Bound
by Marta Keen

In the quiet misty morning
When the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing
And the sky is clear and red,
When the summer’s ceased its gleaming
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure’s lost its meaning –
I’ll be homeward bound in time
Bind me not to the pasture
Chain me not to the plow
Set me free to find my calling
And I’ll return to you somehow
If you find it’s me you’re missing
If you’re hoping I’ll return,
To your thoughts I’ll soon be listening,
And in the road I’ll stop and turn
Then the wind will set me racing
As my journey nears its end
And the path I’ll be retracing
When I’m homeward bound again
Bind me not to the pasture
Chain me not to the plow
Set me free to find my calling
And I’ll return to you somehow
Bind me not to the pasture
Chain me not to the plow
Set me free to find my calling
And I’ll return to you somehow

© Susan Macaulay 2013 – 2015. I invite you to share the links widely, but please do not reprint or reblog or copy and paste my poems into other social media without my permission. Thank you.

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
/* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block.
We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Subscribe to MAS now & get 5 free PDFs & a page of welcome links:

Email Address

Take my short survey on behaviour here.

15 thoughts on “homeward bound: poetic grief and hopeful song”

    1. Well thanks for saying so fellow poet. And I’m delighted you called me by nickname, Punkie, which is what Mom called me all the time, and now that she’s gone there are only a couple of others who do. I’m pleased you are joining their ranks ❤

      Yes, I have a tattoo on the palm of my right hand. Actually, to be technically accurate, it’s on the fleshy part at the base of my thumb, but that’s a bit cumbersome to write and I reckon it’s close enough to kind of qualify as the palm. So. You can see a picture of it and me and more about some of my destiny here:


  1. Incredible synchronicity… in a world where time is timeless… where emptiness embraces fullness… where grief dances with blessed moments of happiness… Thank you for describing your incredible journey with your Mom: « Homeward bound: poetic grief and hopeful song » like you so beautifully describe it. Thank you for sharing your poetic spirit AmazingSusan (August 4, 2018).


    1. Johanne, Merci chere amie. I don’t know why I have only see this now – I must have too much stuff going on! Desolee to be so long in replying, and thank you as ever for your ongoing support – muah! ❤ ❤ ❤


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s