• Born in Fiji in 1974
• Raised in South Wales
• As well as poems, he has written plays, non-fiction
and fiction, including a best-selling novel called
• Main themes of his writing include places,
landscapes and the people who have lived within
What’s the poem about?
• A visit home to his parents & grandfather
• Changing perceptions of parents as they age
• Facing the inevitable process of aging and
• Transitory nature of life
My mother’s hug is awkward,
as if the space between her open arms
is reserved for a child, not this body of a man.
In the kitchen she kneads the dough,
flipping it and patting before laying in again.
The flour makes her over, dusting
the hairs on her cheek, smoothing out wrinkles.
Dad still goes and soaks himself in the rain.
Up to his elbows in hedge, he works
on a hole that reappears every Winter,
its edges laced with wet wool –
frozen breaths snagged on the blackthorn.
When he comes in again his hair is wild,
and his pockets are filled with filings of hay.
All seated, my grandfather pours the wine.
His unsteady hand makes the neck of the bottle
shiver on the lip of the glass;
it is a tune he plays faster each year.
Structure & Form
• 3 stanzas (2 of 7 lines, 1 of 4 lines)
• Fewer lines in last stanza symbolic of his
grandfather having fewer years left to live?
• No rhyme scheme
• Free flow of ideas enhances transitions which
are his subject
Tone, Mood & Purpose
• Sheer’s tone is highly sensitive and expressive,
almost pitiful as he acknowledges his parents’
• The mood created is nostalgic, sad, poignant and
encourages empathy with the poet
• This highly personal insight into his own family’s
changing dynamics is beautiful, sad and perhaps
encourages us to appreciate our own families
whilst we still have time to, as the people we love
won’t be around forever.
Other resources to check out…
1. In ‘Coming Home’ how does the overall
structure and form of the poem play a role in
disclosing the themes in the poem?
2. In 'Coming Home' how does Owen Sheers
describe a connectivity between his visit home
and the passage of time?