Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

(25 November 1875 – 15 August 1928 / Canada)

The Homesteader - Poem by Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

WIND-SWEPT and fire-swept and swept with bitter rain,
This was the world I came to when I came across the sea--
Sun-drenched and panting, a pregnant, waiting plain
Calling out to humankind, calling out to me!

Leafy lanes and gentle skies and little fields all green,
This was the world I came from when I fared across the sea--
The mansion and the village and the farmhouse in between,
Never any room for more, never room for me!

I've fought the wind and braved it; I cringe to it no more!
I've fought the creeping fire back and cheered to see it die.
I've shut the bitter rain outside and, safe within my door,
Laughed to think I feared a thing not so strong as I!

I mind the long, white road that ran between the hedgerows neat,
In that little, strange old world I left behind me long ago,
I mind the air so full of bells at evening, far and sweet--
All and all for someone else--I had leave to go!

It cost a tear to leave it--but here across the sea
With miles and miles of unused sky, and miles of unturned loam,
And miles of room for someone else, and miles of room for me
I've found a bigger meaning for the little word called 'Home.'

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010

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