The subject matter of the poem is of a couple that live on a farm. Mary is sat waiting for Warren to arrive home. When she sees him she tells him that Silas is back. The two start talking about Silas and Mary tells Warren how worn out he looks. They talk about how he used to work on the farm and the boy that used to work with him, who is now a scholar to Silas's dislike. Mary then tell warren that Silas has come here to die and how he sees this place as his home. Warren mentions Silas rich brother and how Silas wont go to see him because of his pride. Warren goes inside to how Silas is doing and when he returns out side he tell Mary that he is dead.
The themes that are present in this poem is life as well as death, Family & Friendship, Home and belonging.
Life & Death
The sense of death is set when Mary says "he has come home to die:/ you needn't be afraid he'll leave you this time" and the couple start to reminisce of Silas's life and the things that he used to do. The poem also shows how Silas lived and how he celebrated his life by doing the things that he wanted to do instead of doing what other people wanted him to do. This is evident when they are talking about Silas's brother "Silas is what he is -- we wouldn't mind him-- But just the kind that kinsfolk can't abide."
The ending of the poem also shows the impact of death, as Warren silently sits besides Mary and he only gives a one-word answer of Dead'. This emphasises the impact of Silas death and what it means to the couple. The bluntness of his reaction gives a feeling of grief and disbelief.
Family & Friendship
This poem reverses the idea of blood being thicker then water'. Silas doesn't seem to have a close relationship with his brother, but he is more comfortable with Warren and Mary his employers . "Silas has walked that far no doubt to-day. Why didn't he go there? His brother's rich,
A somebody- director in the bank.'"...