Hiraeth: a longing for home

Sacha Black’s latest writing prompt is Hiraeth, which I think is a Welsh expression for a very deep longing, a yearning for home. This is the theme of the poem of mine, She longs for what she has lost, that was published last month in The Ogham Stone, Limerick University’s literary journal, so I’ll reproduce it here.

Painting of Howth by William Orpen.


Often at the turning of the year,

When the grass is bright and damp with autumn rain,

And last buds open with the failing sun,

I listen to the windsong in the trees.

When white-winged gulls blow in from stormy seas,

And the tang of salt hangs heavy in the air,

I hear the waves break on a lonely strand,

And taste the smoke and ash in long-dead hearths.

When only starlight guides the homing geese,

Their booming voices singing sailorsโ€™ songs,

I hear the echo from the vaulted sky,

And feel the northlands in their beating wings.

But when the blackbird sings his end of summer song,

And the white gull skims the restless ocean foam,

The whispering comes from deep in blood and bone,

The wind, the stars, the heartโ€™s pulse call me home.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

15 thoughts on “Hiraeth: a longing for home”

  1. Jane, are you happy for me to post the actual poem on this weeks writespiration? Or should I just link to this post? (would be linking to your website anyway, but wanted to check before publishing it)

    1. I am, but I can’t remember what the arrangement is with The Ogham Stone. Maybe if you say it was first published by The Ogham Stone literary journal. That should cover it. Thanks!

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