The Return of the Home Born

Alfred Noyes

All along the white chalk coast
The mist lifts clear.
Wight is glimmering like a ghost.
The ship draws near.
Little inch-wide meadows
Lost so many a day,
The first time I knew you
Was when I turned away.

Island—little island—
Lost so many a year,
Mother of all I leave behind
—Draw me near!—
Mother of half the rolling world,
And O, so little and gray,
The first time I found you
Was when I turned away.

Over yon green water
Sussex lies.
But the slow mists gather
In our eyes.
England, little island
—God, how dear!—
Fold me in your mighty arms,
Draw me near.

Little tawny roofs of home,
Nestling in the gray,
Where the smell of Sussex loam
Blows across the bay ...
Fold me, teach me, draw me close,
Lest in death I say
The first time I loved you
Was when I turned away.