“…of Heart and Hearth” – PROMPT # 30

This week we “Officially” enter the Holiday season, with Thanksgiving on Thursday, and the advent of Christmas, and Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. When this season comes around we are apt to surround ourselves with traditions that involve two aspects of human existence. Love and family. Last week, we asked you to write about love. And the response as expected, was incredible.

For today’s prompt, we ask you to write a “family” poem. But, we’re going to tug at your heartstrings a bit.

The family member from whom we want you to draw your inspiration is someone who would be missing from your celebration. Be it distance in miles or distance in lifetimes, we want you to delve deeply to bring that person back into the fold of heart and hearth.

And yes, if the task becomes too overwhelming, a “family” based poem will do. Bring the family together for the Holidays.


From Marie’s Heart:

“Freedom from Want”

Mr. Rockwell
Captured the ultimate
Family Thanksgiving.
Our family.

With you.

One year ago today
My cell rang.
I held my breath,
Fearing yours had ceased.

It had.

No longer free from want,
We achingly yearn
For your smile,
Your laugh,

Your presence.

Thanksgiving Day
Your beautiful daughters
Will light your funeral candle.
Our centerpiece,

Your light.

(For my cousin, sorely missed.)

From Walt’s Hearth:

FOR ONE MOMENT MORE

I miss you.
You always made special days,
days of love and nurturing.
And this future without you
keeps me wishing I had
just one moment more.
A moment to thank you for those times
and tell you did fine teaching
that nurturing and love
was harder than you made it look.
I miss you. I wish you were here.

In loving memory of my Mom, Irene Marion Wojtanik who had left us 25 years ago.

77 thoughts on ““…of Heart and Hearth” – PROMPT # 30

  1. LOVE IS ALWAYS NEAR

    My parents are in heaven.
    I hope they’re feasting well.
    My brother’s in Virginia.
    I’m missing him as well.
    My sisters are in Cleveland.
    I hope their dinner’s great.
    My kids willl both be home soon,
    I really cannot wait.
    But our hearts are all together
    No matter who is here.
    We are family forever
    And our love is always near.

  2. In Praise of a Maiden Aunt

    I can see you now, plump blonde and plain
    pebble glasses and a sour look;
    dressed like Grandma in corsets,
    brown dress with a lace modesty vest
    to hide your ample bosom.
    Dad called you Twitter and Bisted –
    you were pretty cranky then.

    But I know better now.
    A blighted love life,
    a concert pianist manqué
    for want of cash for training.
    You gave me my first lessons
    on that lovely grand piano,
    a lifelong love affair for me,
    a tragedy for you.

    Always willing for chores,
    you made the Christmas rota
    each year of jobs to be done.
    Viv to wash up, Grandad cleans shoes
    Horace peels spuds and
    Marion cooks.
    Winnie cuts bread, as wafer thin slices
    fall to her knife.

    This was a life sacrificed
    to look after the Grans.
    Your talents unrecognised,
    your music too soon silenced.

    This was one of my earliest poems, so it is very raw. But the words are true and loving, straight from my memories, so I decline to re-write it.

  3. Wayward Moments

    Close
    Your
    Eyes, your
    Ears will hear,
    Fill-up your senses
    With our love and cheer we send you
    From here to there, from now until
    Eternity, our
    Forevers
    Are far
    Too
    Short

  4. Alan Jackson’s, “Remember When”, on YouTube video, profoundly and exquisitely depicts this prompt.

      • Thank you, so much, for giving us this platform to express ourselves so creatively; it nurtures and rejuvenates a sometimes weary Soull!!! Warmth, “Henri” Choplin

      • Thank you, Maria Elena ( I must say that I love m.e.g., or “meg” to me; it is a very endearing name; so, with that said, “Thank you, “Meg”; I think that you are always so gracious to everyone! With Warmth, Henri

      • Thanks, Henri! My full name is Marie Elena Good, therefore the meg. Using M..E (ME) seemed to confuse some, as did m.e.g.(meg), so I’ve all but abandoned both. 😉 But you may most certainly call me Meg. 😀

  5. ~RISING SHINING~

    When I wake breathing
    And look to see your chest
    rising and falling too
    and hear our children
    with their familiar sounds
    of morning magic
    I know that it’ll be
    the best day ever.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    This is my poem for PA today…kind of fits this prompt on the family part. I’ll be back later with a more fitting poem! Happy Sunday smiles!

    P.S. Marie, the light you portray of your cousin is so beautiful. ❤

    P.P.S. And Walt, she must've been so special, your poem is touching.

  6. Missing You

    As we gather together this year
    and prepare to give our thanks
    we still hold your memories dear
    as we gather together this year.
    We’ll try to celebrate with cheer
    though you’re no long among our ranks
    as we gather together this year
    and prepare to give our thanks.

    –Cara Holman

  7. The Chair with the Spindle Knobs

    There’s nothing left of you here.
    It’s Mom’s house now. No photos,
    no mementos your scent long muted
    by confused potpourri of lavender
    and cinnamon and apple, and Vicks.
    But that chair is still here tucked
    under the table as if you might return

    for one last supper. Your chair, the high-back
    one with the wooden spindle knobs
    and the woven thatch seat. You called it
    the barn chair, joking to keep the cows
    and the goat away from it because they’d
    eat the chair right out from under you.
    And then one evening after a long

    and substantial meal you leaned back
    to stretch the air from your stomach.
    At the first we thought you’d belched
    but you didn’t. The high-back chair
    with the wooden spindle knobs and
    seat that the goat might mistake as its
    evening meal cracked and broke

    and hung limp like that chicken you tried
    to kill with the partially severed neck.
    That chair would never be the same.
    You laughed, Mom burst into tears,
    and then you flew into a rage. Sensible
    people don’t cry over chairs, you said.
    That was the year that I learned to walk

    on eggs shells during the holidays.
    You’re gone but your chair’s still here.
    Glued and reglued every time it breaks
    again, which it has. Twice more, I think.
    I miss you so much that it aches
    but I don’t miss the eggshells.
    Happy holidays, Dad.

  8. The Penland Clan

    Gathering sounds round the corner of
    yesteryears brought clear and dear just here.

    So far from there and them and songs swung low
    so near to there and them and songs resounding in the air

    just now. I sit low in my chair, in that room, the children’s table
    just to the left of theirs, well within the reach of stories passing on

    within the wealth of prayer and hope and watchfulness, my eyes following
    fascinated by their hands, the two of them blind throughout their years, fascinated

    by smooth touch of cup, the way her finger found the heated edge,
    the page, those raised dots read slow, their seven raised to know their place
    in the family of being, in the strength of know from whence life comes

    and now this grand bunch of us little ones coming on to find our space
    in the midst of family rooted deep in mountain lore and so much more

    Iola and James, sightless then, watch over, maybe through us every day ~
    their hearth our birthright passing on the challenge to reach out and gather in.

    ~Jane Penland Hoover
    November 20, 2011

  9. Lumpy and Bland

    This Thanksgiving
    I’ll make the recipes my way
    instead of lumpy and bland,
    but I’d make the food your way
    (even though it was bad)
    if you were at the table
    to break bread and carve the bird,
    because you were the best dad ever
    and I love you more than good food.

  10. Mom was always a great cook and so much of memories revolve around food. This will be our third Thanksgiving without her.

    Not Quite as Good

    We will come together at the table
    Again for the season,
    Much the same as last year
    And so many years past;
    Giving hesitant thanks for
    Blessings so often overlooked.
    Table full of so many favorites;
    Turkey, cranberries for Dad,
    Dressing, gravy and greens for me and Sis.
    Ham and fruit salad for my wife and kids
    Along with green beans seasoned with pork –
    Don’t dare forget the crescent rolls.
    The sweet potatoes, everyones favorite,
    We know will never be quite as good
    As what Grammy would make.

  11. Both of your poems are such loving tributes. It’s good that you’re doing something symbolic for those that are missing this holiday. Wishing everyone a happy holiday.

  12. Dreaming the Lake and You Again

    It’s not been quite a year but some
    Times it seems just yesterday
    I learned that you were dead

    And even though I’d long been
    Dreaming you and the lake before
    Your death I think I knew

    The fact of it would not change
    Your night-time visitations
    Or dreaming the lake one bit

    It surely did not but still I am
    Taken by surprise if enough nights
    Go by in dreamless peace

    Then, like last night, a vivid
    Unspooling of our lives:
    I dream the lake and you

    Alive again, so real that
    even when asleep
    The ache is so acute
    My heart bleeds tears

    That wet my pillow
    And mats my lashes thick
    Before I can force myself awake

    The smell of old growth forest
    And a lake newly ice-free
    A pungent freshness unlike no other
    Fills my barely conscious senses
    The way it did every Spring

    Our first time way up there
    In that magical place – made
    More so in retrospect I know now

    Because it was where we were—
    All of us — our family —
    Our happiest selves

    But most of all sweet one
    It was your place of places, yes?
    How was it I had to wait to dream it
    To know the truth of your reality
    I so wish I could somehow let you know …

    S.E.Ingraham©

  13. Apologies for the spammy “youtube” video ads that crept in sometime through the night. Perils of the internet. UGH.

  14. “The smell of old growth forest …” That is such a strong association, isn’t it? It’s a lovely and loving tribute to a special person. Very touching.

  15. (A serial Shadorma to honor my dad) Also on the PAD site.

    Whenever Passover Arrives

    As children, we sat
    dressed in best
    clothing, `round
    grandparents’ oval table,
    starched white cloth, lace trimmed.

    Cobalt cups and plates
    dignified
    sanctity
    of this day. Grandpa, in white
    shirt, read Hebrew prayers.

    Without grandparents,
    holiday
    traditions
    were moved to my home, with Dad
    at head of table,

    reciting prayers, both
    in English
    and Hebrew
    so that our quilt’s new patches
    could listen and learn.

    Dad is gone five years;
    family
    has scattered.
    When Passover comes, I miss
    our quilt’s foundation.

  16. Fork in the Road

    I know the awkwardness
    of sitting across the dinner table
    trying to see the man
    who was once my father
    in this hunched over frump
    with darkened nails
    and wrinkled skin
    but only catching a glance
    that shies my eyes
    because it has always been
    wrong to stare
    even if I only want to remember
    a smile or a glint of a smirk
    when we both knew something
    that could make us laugh.

    • the long threads that connect us to one another so clearly delivered – I the sense of holding back that I get reading that is revealed so in the holding back required of that connection and laugh wanting to escape. Lovely

  17. “Dressing” for Thanksgiving

    “Be good, now”. I miss that
    closing line of the phone calls.
    Southerners can be direct and
    still sound sweet. Granny had it down.
    Reminding me in that familiar drawl,
    how proud she was; while still
    sending her somewhat subtle message.

    We didn’t see her every Thanksgiving,
    but the phone call was made
    and so was the cornbread “dressing”.
    She never met my children; she left us four
    years too early for that. But, oh, she would
    have “loved the stuffing” out of them.
    I’ll have another spoon of dressing, please!

  18. Not an easy one for me.

    untitled

    I’d like to know where johnny mason went
    and if he’s still alive. His mother and his father
    (Daddy’s buddy from the Seabees) are long gone
    as my own. They said, I remember, he
    had turned wild. But I, too, in my passive way
    became untame, and that was
    only lonesome trying to hold with any
    word to the things that looked like love.
    We got together on Thanksgiving,
    and New Years sometimes, too.
    Nashville or Memphis, turkey and dressing,
    touch football, but not so much of that.
    I don’t remember, but we must have talked,
    told little moron jokes, played cards. The
    masons were another word for family.
    I’d like to know where johnny mason went.

  19. VACANCY AT THE FEAST

    on account of idle words

    there’s a vacancy at the feast

    between you and your father

    the bickerings never ceased

    regardless the instigator

    we’re robbed of our niece

    and short one loved one

    at this lovely feast

    We’ll miss your sassy smile

    and sweet dilly dimples

    hope you put aside the quibbles

    and treat life real simple

    moved back with your mother

    in divorce’s deep divide

    with your pain and distemper

    in which side to abide?

    still suffering the blow of the double-edged sword

    that severed love’s union and family’s one accord

    now dealing with the daunting demon of division

    may the Lord heal your heart, soul, stitch the incision

    Yes, you’ll be sorely missed

    at this lovely feast

    Yes, you’ll always be missed

    You, my lovely niece

    Poetic Bloomings Prompt #30 ”write a family poem”

    VACANCY AT THE FEAST

    on account of idle words

    there’s a vacancy at the feast

    between you and your father

    the bickerings never ceased

    regardless the instigator

    we’re robbed of our niece

    and short one loved one

    at this lovely feast

    We’ll miss your sassy smile

    and sweet dilly dimples

    hope you put aside the quibbles

    and treat life real simple

    moved back with your mother

    in divorce’s deep divide

    with your pain and distemper

    in which side to abide?

    still suffering the blow of the double-edged sword

    that severed love’s union and family’s one accord

    now dealing with the daunting demon of division

    may the Lord heal your heart, soul, stitch the incision

    Yes, you’ll be sorely missed

    at this lovely feast

    Yes, you’ll always be missed

    You, my lovely niece

    Hoping to see you soon,

    Uncle Benjamin

  20. My apologies, please forgive the double post above!

    VACANCY AT THE FEAST

    on account of idle words

    there’s a vacancy at the feast

    between you and your father

    the bickerings never ceased

    regardless the instigator

    we’re robbed of our niece

    and short one loved one

    at this lovely feast

    We’ll miss your sassy smile

    and sweet dilly dimples

    hope you put aside the quibbles

    and treat life real simple

    moved back with your mother

    in divorce’s deep divide

    with your pain and distemper

    in which side to abide?

    still suffering the blow of the double-edged sword

    that severed love’s union and family’s one accord

    now dealing with the daunting demon of division

    may the Lord heal your heart, soul, stitch the incision

    Yes, you’ll be sorely missed

    at this lovely feast

    Yes, you’ll always be missed

    You, my lovely niece

    Hoping to see you soon,

    Uncle Benjamin

  21. I am so glad I stumbled across this site! This was also posted over at the PAD challenge.

    Pilgrimage to Parkersburg

    For our family, in November
    All roads led to West Virginia,
    To Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.
    The first few to venture downstairs
    In the predawn quiet
    Would find Grandma in her armchair,
    Coffee in hand,
    Chesterfield smoldering in the ashtray,
    Tosha pacing around her feet.
    He would permit a few ear scratches
    Before retreating with a regal yowl
    That only a Siamese can muster.
    After few more cups of coffee
    And a few more sets of helping hands awoke,
    The final dinner preparations would begin.
    As the turkey was washed and stuffed
    And the potatoes peeled,
    We would share our stories,
    The ones retold often enough
    To become our family’s mythology:
    Aunt Rose’s bean catastrophe,
    How Uncle Ronald rescued Muffin as a kitten,
    The time Grandma undercooked the holiday ham
    And hid behind the refrigerator in shame.
    Through the laughter and the chopping and the endless dishes
    Our bonds grew stronger
    As we added new stories to the family mythology.

    Today Thanksgiving still finds me awake before dawn,
    Coffee in hand,
    Cigarette smoldering in the ashtray,
    And I feel Grandma’s presence at my own table
    Much like at hers all those years ago.
    Through the chopping and the endless dishes
    She whispers her stories to me,
    And our bond, though tinged with sadness,
    Is still as strong as ever
    As I help add new stories to our family’s mythology.

  22. GATHERING THOUGHTS

    the cacophony of noise
    around me faded
    into the distance,
    the words echoing
    in my mind
    the only sound now:
    He didn’t make it.

    gathering my thoughts,
    I left that empty
    conference room,
    my quiet refuge

    He didn’t make it.
    I heard myself
    telling my boss,
    through tears,
    as I went through
    the motions of
    clearing my desk

    gathering my thoughts
    I remember
    days gone by,
    the good and the not so good

    Thanksgiving,
    a year and a half
    after the final goodbye,
    another holiday
    comes and goes
    another holiday without Dad.
    He didn’t make it.

    2011-11-24
    P. Wanken

  23. Pingback: Gathering Thoughts (NaNoWriMo – Day 24) « echoes from the silence

  24. Five Generations

    The five generation picture
    sits on my china hutch.
    There’s me and four more family
    whom I love very much.

    There’s great grandma and grandpa Bill,
    my mom and of course me.
    The precious little baby
    is my daughter, Courtney.

    Taken back in May
    of nineteen eighty-five,
    we rushed to get it done while
    great grandma was still alive.

    We’ll have a family gathering
    this year in mid December.
    My sister and my brothers,
    sit, eat, chat and remember.

    Mom will be in Florida,
    The kids will be with me,
    and we will take that picture.
    The roots of our family tree.

    I’ll be taking something special
    as we all pass a dish,
    my great grandmas’ rice pudding.
    It is my sisters wish.

    I’ll make that special pudding
    with tender loving care.
    A small piece of great grandmas heart
    is surely to be there.

    By Michael Grove

  25. Another Sunrise

    A solitary beach walker
    Where once two had been,
    Seemingly uncertain what to do
    With his unnaturally empty right hand.
    Another sunrise among many,
    Begrudgingly sharing the beach
    With endless, timeless waves,
    And soaring, screeching seabirds.
    Breezes chilled by late November,
    Looking for that reason to be thankful;
    A bouquet of flowers on the sand –
    Marking where ashes had been spread.
    A solitary beach walker,
    Where once two had been.

    • A huge welcome, Mark! Or welcome back? I was thinking you had posted here before, but couldn’t locate it. Good to see you, either way. 🙂

      • Thank you very much. i am very glad to have found you and Poetic Asides this month. It has been eye opening and encouraging. (only one other post; to this prompt).

  26. Christmas Surprise

    A couple years ago,
    weeks before Christmas,
    I was sitting at the kitchen table,
    typing on my laptop,
    and I heard someone
    coming up the steps outside.

    Instead of a knock on the door,
    the doorknob turned,
    the door opened
    and it took a moment
    before I believed what I was seeing.

    You had said you wouldn’t make
    the thirteen hundred miles for Christmas
    and you didn’t lie.
    You came early.

    I guess it’s too much to hope
    that it will happen again.

Comments are closed.