Friday, February 21, 2014

Poems about Home: Playlist for February 21, 2014

The Props assist the House (729)

By  Emily Dickinson    

The Props assist the House

Until the House is built

And then the Props withdraw

And adequate, erect,

The House support itself

And cease to recollect

The Augur and the Carpenter –

Just such a retrospect

Hath the perfected Life –

A Past of Plank and Nail

And slowness – then the scaffolds drop

Affirming it a Soul –
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Alleluia & Fugue for String Orchestra by Alan Hovhaness

Home Fire

By  Linda Parsons Marion  

Whether on the boulevard or gravel backroad,

I do not easily raise my hand to those who toss

up theirs in anonymous hello, merely to say

“I’m passing this way.” Once out of shyness, now

reluctance to tip my hand, I admire the shrubbery

instead. I’ve learned where the lines are drawn

and keep the privet well trimmed. I left one house

with toys on the floor for another with quiet rugs

and a bed where the moon comes in. I’ve thrown

myself at men in black turtlenecks only to find

that home is best after all. Home where I sit

in the glider, knowing it needs oil, like my own

rusty joints. Where I coax blackberry to dogwood

and winter to harvest, where my table is clothed

in light. Home where I walk out on the thin page

of night, without waving or giving myself away,

and return with my words burning like fire in the grate.     

REFLECTIVE MUSIC:  Andante cantabile by P. Tchaikovsky


Home Movies: A Sort of Ode

By  Mary Jo Salter                       

Because it hadn't seemed enough,

after a while, to catalogue

more Christmases, the three-layer cakes

ablaze with birthday candles, the blizzard

Billy took a shovel to,

Phil's lawnmower tour of the yard,

the tree forts, the shoot-'em-ups

between the boys in new string ties

and cowboy hats and holsters,

or Mother sticking a bow as big

as Mouseketeer ears in my hair,

my father sometimes turned the gaze

of his camera to subjects more

artistic or universal:

long closeups of a rose's face;

a real-time sunset (nearly an hour);

what surely were some brilliant autumn

leaves before their colors faded

to dry beige on the aging film;

a great deal of pacing, at the zoo,

by polar bears and tigers caged,

he seemed to say, like him.

What happened between him and her

is another story. And just as well

we have no movie of it, only

some unforgiving scowls she gave

through terrifying, ticking silence

when he must have asked her (no

sound track) for a smile.

Still, what I keep yearning for

isn't those generic cherry

blossoms at their peak, or the brave

daffodil after a snowfall,

it's the re-run surprise

of the unshuttered, prefab blanks

of windows at the back of the house,

and how the lines of aluminum

siding are scribbled on with meaning

only for us who lived there;

it's the pair of elephant bookends

I'd forgotten, with the upraised trunks

like handles, and the books they meant

to carry in one block to a future

that scattered all of us.

And look: it's the stoneware mixing bowl

figured with hand-holding dancers

handed down so many years

ago to my own kitchen, still

valueless, unbroken. Here

she's happy, teaching us to dye

the Easter eggs in it, a Grecian

urn of sorts near which—a foster

child of silence and slow time

myself—I smile because she does

and patiently await my turn.     
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Lyric Pieces by Edvard Grieg

Going Home: New Orleans

By  Sheryl St. Germain   

for my grandmother, Theresa Frank

Some slow evenings when the light hangs late and stubborn in the sky,

gives itself up to darkness slowly and deliberately, slow cloud after slow cloud,

slowness enters me like something familiar,

and it feels like going home.

It’s all there in the disappearing light:

all the evenings of slow sky and slow loving, slow boats on sluggish bayous;

the thick-middled trees with the slow-sounding names—oak, mimosa, pecan, magnolia;

the slow tree sap that sticks in your hair when you lie with the trees;

and the maple syrup and pancakes and grits, the butter melting

slowly into and down the sides like sweat between breasts of sloe-eyed strippers;

and the slow-throated blues that floats over the city like fog;

and the weeping, the willows, the cut onions, the cayenne, the slow-cooking beans with marrow-thick gravy;

and all the mint juleps drunk so slowly on all the slow southern porches,

the bourbon and sugar and mint going down warm and brown, syrup and slow;

and all the ice cubes melting in all the iced teas,

all the slow-faced people sitting in all the slowly rocking rockers;

and the crabs and the shrimp and crawfish, the hard shells

slowly and deliberately and lovingly removed, the delicate flesh

slowly sucked out of heads and legs and tails;

and the slow lips that eat and drink and love and speak

that slow luxurious language, savoring each word like a long-missed lover;

and the slow-moving nuns, the black habits dragging the swollen ground;

and the slow river that cradles it all, and the chicory coffee

that cuts through it all, slow-boiled and black as dirt;

and the slow dreams and the slow-healing wounds and the slow smoke of it all

slipping out, ballooning into the sky—slow, deliberate, and magnificent.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: A Dear Old Southland by Turner Layton, performed by Allen Toussaint

Goin’ Home

By William Arms Fisher

Going home, going home,
I'm just going home.
Quiet-like, slip away-
I'll be going home.
It's not far, just close by;
Jesus is the Door;
Work all done, laid aside,
Fear and grief no more.
Friends are there, waiting now.
He is waiting, too.
See His smile! See His hand!
He will lead me through.

Morning Star lights the way;
Restless dream all done;
Shadows gone, break of day,
Life has just begun.
Every tear wiped away,
Pain and sickness gone;
Wide awake there with Him!
Peace goes on and on!
Going home, going home,
I'll be going home.
See the Light! See the Sun!
I'm just going home.
REFLECTIVE MUSIC: Adagio from "New World" Symphony, by Antonin Dvorak

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