How does the poet bring out the theme of ‘passing of time’ in the poem ‘Coming Home’? The poem ‘Coming Home’ by Owen Sheers, explores the description of the poets visits to his family, and how the passage of time has changed some things and make some things feel odd. There are three main characters in this poem, namely the mother, father and the grandfather, as well as the narrator, who is the poet and reflecting on this visit of his. It is in the form of omnipresent narration, which gives it somewhat of a constant flow throughout each stanza. The reflection is done in a low tone, which makes the reader not focus at any particular part of the poem, while the vivid imagery and attention to detail captivates the readers mind throughout the poem. Passing of time is something that is evident in all of us, and appears to speed up when we are not with people close to us.
The first stanza talks of the poets’ mother. A lot of time has passed since the poet last met his mother, and her hug is somewhat awkward since it is different from his memory of hugging her, probably when he was a teen or young adult. He calls the hug awkward, but only in the unfamiliar or odd sense of its meaning, rather than its negative meaning. The reader also gets the idea that the mother is taking the initiative to bridge the gap in their uneasy relationship. This is connected to the idea of passing of time, since it shows the awkwardness that is brought about by separation from one another over the time that has elapsed. The next scene is one where the mother is shown to be making something of dough.
This involves a lot of physical process, and due to the fact that it is made of flour, this patting action also makes some of the flour go up and cover her face. This part of the poem shows the urge of the mother to try and cook something for her son, so as to continue some sort of tradition or some force of habit, despite her old age. This part also gives a great attention to detail, such as aptly describing the kind of motion involved in making whatever she is making, and also the point when the flour which covers her covers her and makes her face wrinkles disappear. The kinesthetics shown in this stanza (kneading, flipping, patting) also appeal to the auditory senses. The second stanza talks of the father working outside in a farm. The poet says that his father still goes outside, which tells us that it is a force of habit to keep doing what he wants to do.