Sitting in Cafe des Westens in Berlin in May 1912 was a ‘sweating, sick and hot’ Rupert Brooke, desperately missing The Old Vicarage in Grantchester – pining for his English home: ‘get me to England once again.’
How far and remote and alone he must have felt. In the poem he wrote that May day he recalls with imaginative nostalgia –
‘my flower beds’ ‘the chestnuts shade’ ‘a bosky wood…a slumbrous stream’ ‘the lilac is in bloom’ ‘May fields all golden’ ‘flower-lulled in sleepy grass.’
At first he is descriptive and comical then he asks questions (with increasing heartfelt inquiry) of the land he so loves.
At some point in our lives we will all miss our home & the things that make us, us. We will long to return, to belong again, to enjoy a hot pot of tea, marmite toast or a red post box.
Rupert Brooke would never return to live out a full life; he died in 1915.
Yet in this poem he has forever preserved a corner of England.
Yes Rupert, the church clock stands, turning the time & the bees are buzzing at the apple blossoms in the orchard. Oh & the sky is a deep blue, with a fat, fluffy white English cloud!