Phillip Phillips’ Home is a simple song, a sincere poem, a verse favored by sentimentalists and enjoyed by realists, Home is a poem of wandering, of courage, of homecoming.  The verse is composed of quintain, “five-line stanzas” whose rhyme scheme is shared by Shelley’s lyric, Ode to a Skylark

In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O’er which clouds are bright’ning,
Thou dost float and run;
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

… “ing” = A, “un” = B; id est, ABABB in perfect rhyme, tight and final.  Phillip Phillips in Home is easy, imperfect alike us all, homey and comfortable, casual, “slanting” as we say, its rhymes touch in similitude, yet wander…

Hold on to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave (wave) is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

… unexacting, inexact, easy.  All good verse tells itself in the final words of its lines of its stanzas.  Shelley’s stanza can be read, “lightning, sun, bright’ning, run, begun” a journey alike Phillips’ lyrical stanza, “go, road, along, alone, home”, each a tale of adventure.  Notice though: speak “un” as in “done”; speak “o” as in “go”; the un constricts space, the o opens the breath to possibility.


Phillip Phillips' Home parade

Small Town Memorial Day. credit: Brocreative


Phillips’ next stanza of Home follows on the theme of wandering, its danger, hope and rescue…

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble, it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

…“clear, demons, fear, down, found”, then, as in a chorus, a returning to the beginning, the conclusion of wandering, the start of a greater adventure…

Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

Home, the place all-we-all would choose to be after adventure and wandering, a place of family, alike an Eden where Adam is united in homecoming with Eve, a place where in one we make our family, naturally, by the nature of our being man and woman.  Yes, in the bones of this simple story is our story, the Classive story that defines us, as first memorably spoken by the poet, Homer*.


Phillip Phillips' Home

Home in Georgia. credit: Sean Pavone


We, a good people, would return to Eden, if we could … except of course for Satan and minions who in overweaning pride hate the family of man, all that abides in God’s nature, in God’s plan.  Home, a place for each to be what one would be, naturally.  And there is this lovely and moving touch in Phillips’ verse of home, wave … wave, reminding me of the many repeating waves of the wine-dark sea, the trope of movement in Homer’s Iliad, Homer’s Odyssey, our first verses of adventure, wandering and homecoming.

How not reminded: the bones of all we know, of all we are, live through us in the ineffable, memorable air of words, from Homer through Phillips, to you.  We are a people made by words worthy of defending, of homes worthy of defending.  You will notice that rhymed and metered speech, “verse”, lodges in your breath, your heartbeat, your memory; that the talk of modern poems is soon forgot, being neither universal, nor natural, nor memorable.  We defend what we remember, we remember what is good.

There are, of course, other American songs of home, Home Sweet Home, last year considered in these pages, and other songs that live in memory, in our verse traditions, in the songs that make Americans, American.  I expect that Phillip Phillips’ Home shall survive the generations, being, as it is, essential, alike his Dance with Me, an epithalamion, a “wedding song”, superior…


Phillip Phillips singing Home

Phillip Phillips‘ Home. credit: Randy Miramontez


… that for another consideration of ceremonies that make a home, beautiful.


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* Iliad, Odyssey, Nostoi, Homer’s epic trilogy of adventure, of wandering and returning, of home rebuilding.  Iliad tells of Achilles’ adventure, anger and sympathy.  Odyssey tells of Odysseus’ wandering and returning.  Nostoi, Homer’s lost epic, of which some few lines survive, tells of heroes in homecoming and generation.


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Featured image: Hometown America. credit: Sean Pavone


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Phillip Phillips’ Home