At Home by Hugo Claus

At Home

Father was eating partridge and Mother was out
and I and Joris were talking about murders
and getaways and on what trains
when the sun rolled into our attic
and lay there gleaming in the hay.
Father swore and said: God sees me.
Joris made his getaway
and I went on playing with the trains
which ran on electricity across the floor
between posts.

 I like how this poem tells a narrative without giving too much away.

 The speaker is probably younger since he is continues to play with the toy trains even after his father curses outloud: the older brother must have an idea of what the father is cursing about, and either wants to run away from that, or is anticipating what usually follows after his father curses.

I think the repetition of trains and getaways is good because I think that it implies that the speaker is now older and can see the difference between the getaways that characters in stories versus the real ones that people make.

 I thought at first when I read this poem that it should end right after “went on playing with the trains” but I think now that it should continue in like it does. I think this because the speaker, at that moment in time, is like the train and the tracks he speaks of: he’s caught between his parents because the only track he sees in his life at that time is the one running between them. The posts, like parents, frame a home for children.

One Response to “At Home by Hugo Claus”

  1. Stephen says:

    The trains undergo a really fun and interesting switch from being almost imagined by “I and Joris” in thier getaways to very real toy trains that are the subjects of the last three lines. This poem has a simplicity in word choice; the author almost plays with what is actually a sentence, what is actually quotation and description. “The sun rolled into our attic” makes me feel a bit of poetic jealousy. It is definetely well used.