For my daughter in another hemisphere
Waylaid by Handel’s theme, I think of you
Now half a world away, and hear you say
‘His music always seems like coming home.’
Each bar – begged, borrowed, or plucked from Paradise –
Signed ‘G.F.H.’ with confidence sublime,
A confidence of joy, a journey dared
In certainty of finding journey’s end.
Was it those hearty meals of English beef,
Good English guineas, the acclaim of crowds,
Or, as he told, he saw once with his eyes
‘All Heaven opened, and the great God Himself’
And based his foot upon the rock, ‘I know’?
Tomorrow men will walk upon the moon,
Brush with their moulded boots rocks that were made
They say, when first our universe began.
Will they be lying there when it concludes?
But they, the intruders on that lifeless orb
Swiftly, before the lunar night, will rise
Circle and head for home, will see, each hour,
Grow larger, like a golden lamp, our earth
Hung in the pit of space, our marvellous earth,
Womb, home, and tender tomb, our loved belonging,
Our breath and bone, blessed mote in the abyss,
Will see brown lands, blue oceans, curdled clouds
Form and divide, in dazzling shape and hue,
And know they are coming home.
Perhaps they’ll see
Our separate continents, twin hemispheres,
Like stepping-stones, with one blue strip between,
A stride at most.
So far, so near we are,
Household of one small planet, ark of life
In the great void, a match struck in the dark,
Or else, with music of the universe,
Moving mysterious to its journey’s end
When all its sons and daughters have come home.