Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Poetry Stretch - Home

First, I want to thank everyone who wrote for last week's challenge. While I did not have access the internet while I was away, my smartphone and your poems kept me going. A few of these poems even had me laughing in the face of airline delays and bumpy plane rides. So again, I thank you! Please check out the poems written for the topic On the Road.

I went home last week, but it really isn't home anymore. It happens to be where I grew up. It's where my mother still lives. On the flight back to Richmond I realized that more than half my life now has been spent somewhere outside of the place I still call home. When people ask where I'm from, I still think New York, not Virginia. That response always makes me wonder how people define home. Can you have two homes, not the brick and mortar type, but homes of the heart?

Maybe our poems this week can answer that question. Let's write about home.  Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results in time for Poetry Friday.


  1. An ancient postcard
    shows a place I'll never see,
    which I now call home.
    Madeleine Begun Kane


    Quiet engulfs a skeleton
    of what was once our thriving home.

    Weeds stretch through the sidewalk
    where I learned to ride my bike.

    Vats of brown sod replace lush green pasture
    that I use to cut every Saturday.

    Shattered walls displace beige colored barriers where I frantically wrote my thoughts after my baby sister died.

    Decayed floors stand in for smooth, pea green linoleum
    that I skated in my socks much to Mom's annoyance.

    Rusty sink substitutes a stainless steel basin
    where Dad taught me how to shave and tie a tie.

    Faded couch takes the place of a plush ottoman
    where I fell asleep on Grandpa's lap every Christmas.

    What nature and neglect can't ever take away
    are the memories of your childhood abode.

    (c) Charles Waters 2012 all rights reserved.

    1. "What nature and neglect can't ever take away
      are the memories of your childhood abode."

      So true, Charles. I enjoyed sharing in your memories. Julie

    2. Very kind of you to write that Julie. Many thanks!

  3. In My Daughter's Early Drawings

    We live in a square
    topped by a triangle.
    There is sometimes
    a rhombus of a door
    that no one opens
    and smaller squares
    of windows either side.
    This is home to her.
    To Mommy and to me.
    Often our black cat
    Desdemona figures in
    her triple-circle body,
    twin ice cream cones
    for ears, trailing tail
    like a backwards S,
    on our green rectangle
    grass, our blue and
    trapezoidal sky.

    (c) Steven Withrow 2012, all rights reserved

    1. I really like your poem, Steve! It exists on so many levels for me and the teacher in me wants to seize it and use it to help kids with geometry terms. I think you are on to something with that btw. However, it speaks to me about love and the golden moments of childhood and our sort of similar roots in that triangle-roofed house we all lived in once upon a time. Janet F.

  4. Oh, lovely. Love the last phrase especially... our blue and trapezoidal sky.

  5. Moving

    “You’ll like it there,” Mom says.
    “Your room will be bigger
    and we’ve painted it yellow.”
    “Bright yellow?” I ask, “Bright
    like the sun?” She shakes her head.
    “Soft yellow, like butter. Here,
    put this in the box.” I stick the cookbooks
    in the box. “What about the kitchen?”
    “Just white, but it has a nice window.”
    I go look in our kitchen. I think
    the window is really nice. It shows
    three bushes in a row and the house
    next door with a dog that yaps
    like he’s crazy. I’ll miss that dog,
    and the dumb little kid down the street.
    I’ll miss the porch, and the way my bed
    shows me a streetlight if I slide down a little.
    It makes me think of Narnia
    and Lucy going out in the snow.
    I’ll miss Jamie the most, the way
    she used to come over and talk, silly
    and not silly. Boxes cover the floor.
    I picture a new yellow room filling up
    with my things like water in a cup,
    my dresser pouring in with the jewel box
    on top my dad gave me last Christmas,
    my clothes filling drawers, everything filling
    the new house. Maybe someday
    I will like it there. But not yet.
    “Jamie’s here!” my mom calls. Today
    my home is right here. “Coming!”

    --Kate Coombs 2012,
    all rights reserved

  6. Here's a tanka about when that childhood home isn't safe and homey. . . .

    those warm rectangles
    of soft-curtained light . . .
    fled to the streets
    I used to wonder what secrets
    other houses held

    c 2012 by Hannah Mahoney

  7. Finding North

    What happened to the
    language of the
    To all the secret places—
    the clocks, the mice,
    the rabbit moon,
    the milky breath
    of morning?
    To apples baking,
    hotcakes rising,
    the buttery, sugary
    spicy taste of dawn?

    Show me, tell me,
    take me there—
    to sleeping gardens,
    creeping vines,
    to lilac scents
    of summer.
    To skies of pink
    and blue and red,
    to woolen socks
    and mistletoe,
    to gingerbread and tea—
    to falling snow and
    Jack Frost etching
    on the glass.

    © jgk, 2008

    1. Julie, I love all the sensory details in this, and the song-like lyricism. Lovely.

  8. These are lovely, and all different. What a rich topic. Here's mine, with inspiration from Naomi Shihab Nye's poem, Kindness.


    Before you know what home really is
    you must leave, feel its cool shade thinning
    as you drive away. You must spend Sundays
    on another couch, catless, no gentle quilt nearby,
    no dim room with a narrow bed that knows
    your form. Before you learn the density of home,
    you must sit alone with your pizza, remembering
    neighbors' front yard games, boys who shrugged
    off boundaries, driveway and hedge, tall windows
    framing them like curled photos in an album
    handed down. You must smell the garlic air,
    how it lingered days after the soup was gone
    from the chipped white stove, know again
    the damp porch step where you heard the moon
    whisper, This world is larger than your questions.
    You must hum the creak of the faded red door
    as you enter another place, empty,
    crave the embrace, call Hello?
    again, feel it calling you

    © 2012 Stephanie Parsley
    (with nods to Naomi Shihab Nye)

  9. My poem this week is a prefix poem.



    Just a dot
    on the map
    I once said I lived
    but that means
    something different
    in the five boroughs
    so now I claim
    western NY
    as mine


    Like summer corn
    I grew straight
    and tall here
    wandering fields
    catching snakes and fireflies
    loving the freedom of pedaling
    fast and rolling away from
    newly fertilized fields


    Nineteen years
    in the south
    and I’m still a
    puzzle missing pieces


    Mom still waits
    for me
    I’ve worn the roads
    from here to there
    and back again
    how much time we have
    before these trips will end


    One day there will be
    no one there to
    welcome me

    1. Oh, so sad! But the images are so clear and endearing. Favorite stanza -sick

    2. I can so relate to this poem, having grown up in the same region and now living far away.

      Thank you for sharing.

    3. I REALLY like your poem, Tricia. I travel the same route. CNY to Long Island. Think I know every inch of it after 42 years and have that same wonder as you at the end. I still say I am going home....though it really is not.Janet F.

  10. Signed Out with Daughter

    He spoons coconut ice cream into his mouth,
    thin folds of skin pleat the back of his arms.
    He drinks blue air into hardening lungs,
    tells me of the girl he wishes he’d married,
    the one that got away in his old home town
    that has shriveled and died. Not even a place to buy a Coke.

    He doesn’t want to go back
    to the two rooms, the recliner,
    his bed, the pictures on the wall
    that claim intimacy in that unfamiliar place.
    He has surrendered all—his wife
    in another home, his tools idle, his keys.

    Freedom is ice cream at a sidewalk parlor,
    the walker shoved into a corner, the tank
    of oxygen slung across the wrought iron chair.
    “Take me by the house,” he says. “For a while.”
    I drop him off, leave him to breathe the stale air.
    He just wants to say he went home.

    1. This is lovely, Doraine.

    2. How touching! This really resonates with me.

  11. I used this prompt to inspire my haiku, published on my blog for Friday Poetry with a photo of my porch swing:

    toys lined up by,
    his empty laundry basket -
    a motionless swing

    Andromeda Jazmon

    Sorry I seem to be feeling sad about home these days. Sigh.

  12. These are all wonderful! Wow!