A prompt that came to me while watching my favorite show, House, M.D. 

We are writing about a house or a home. It could be a house we live(d) in, a house we wished was ours, a supposed haunted house … it might be our home and the people in it. There is a difference between a house (the building) and a home (the environment in which we prospered). Choose one about which to wax poetic. A house is not a home, but could make a great poem.


Home is Where I Watch the Buckeyes with Dad

As August slips into the back side,
and daylight is squeezed
into fewer hours,
I miss the distant sound
of drum cadence,
bringing in a new season.
In just a couple weeks,
Dad and I would have had
our decades-long ritual
of gathering in front of the T.V.
and saying (as though it is a surprise),
“Can you believe it is already
the first game of the season?
Didn’t the season just end?”

It didn’t matter whose home we
were in,

until it did.

Those final years, he became too frail,
and it became harder,
and then impossible,
to get Mom out the door.
So we would haul food to their place,
and hope Dad could stay awake
and out of the bathroom
for most of the game.
We hoped he could enjoy it
a fraction of what he used to.

The lamp that was part of each home
Mom and Dad called theirs
now lights my front window
as I write poems
about football
and marching bands
and drum cadence
and Mom
and Dad.

Because poems
and their light
are all that remain.

© Marie Elena Good, 2020



Brick by brick we assembled
this life we’ve come to know.
Mortar provided strength,
but little else to solidify
these emotions. A devotion
cemented and inflexible;
an expected result of
living and learning
and burning all bridges behind us.
If they find us outlined in chalk,
the talk would be that we wore you out.
But I doubt your facade would crumble
as easily as that. Pointed and level,
every detail possessing its own devil,
dishevelling all your efforts
to build it better. Give yourself room
or your doom will be certain,
veiled by a curtain of doubt.
Maybe brick by brick is flawed
Each terra cotta block is rigid and hard
not like some wind-blown house of cards.

© Walter J Wojtanik – 2020

Also, Happy Birthday to my wife Janice, today!

48 thoughts on “PROMPT #299 – A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME

  1. Walt, your poem calls to be read several times. In the always-subtle internal rhymes, you’ve woven an entire story. The visuals you create, and the emotion is stunning. Well done, as always!

    Happy Birthday to Janice from across the lake! Celebrate well!


    Time was
    when old folks’ homes
    were in the same houses
    they had built and bequeathed to their
    young folk.

  3. H


    Thank you for my new found health,
    what I now know as my true wealth.
    Thank you for the clean, fresh air,
    and sun and laughter, quite the pair.
    Thanks also for my art, my books,
    our older cats, their goofy looks,
    tee shirts, sweat pants, my faith too,
    and nothing’s better than our zoo.
    Thank you for my meditations,
    those middle of the day vacations.
    Thank you for our lovely home,
    and each and every published poem.
    Mostly, thanks for my awesome wife,
    the greatest part of a grateful life.

  4. Home Sweet Home

    A shelter from the weather
    a place to lay your head
    the bare necessities of life
    can reside there but that’s
    not what calls you home
    at the end of the day
    not what makes you long
    to walk through that door
    it is who or what is waiting
    as you come in the door
    a kiss, a smile,
    a bark, a meow
    is what makes this
    house a home.

  5. Brick by Brick

    I’m trying my best to build the unseen
    Brick by brick and board by board
    With the things I do for others and
    The things I write for the Lord

    By following the Great Commission
    Brick by brick I’m building my home
    It’s my assignment from the Master
    And I’ll work until this life is done

    Please pray that my mission continues
    And I’ll pray the same prayer for you
    Then we’ll all get together in Heaven
    But while here let’s do all we can do

  6. My House

    Before I repainted my house,
    after twenty years of wear and tear
    of housing two childlike adults
    or four counting hubby and me,

    I made a list of what I wanted
    for my house’s personality-or
    housinality?: Creative, fun, inviting,
    God-glorifying and industrious.

    Against my carpet -person’s advice,
    I painted every room a different color
    with the doors matching the room
    not each other in the hallway.

    On the walls and shelves, I have things
    reminding me of the people I love
    my son and daughter’s toys from the past,
    mementos from loved ones long gone,

    pictures of family and friends in various locales
    Ireland, Scotland, the Caribbean, Canada,
    Hawaii, Alaska, North Dakota, Louisiana, Maine
    Washington, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida,

    plaques with sayings such as
    “Kindness is a Lifestyle.”
    I left a wall for my paintings
    and, of course, there’s books everywhere.

    I now have a patio door and large back porch.
    I tried to have a color scheme in each room.
    I even invested in a twenty-dollar throw pillow
    for the living room that pulled the colors together.

    Wine, green blue, gold and olive green.
    But Hubby found it comfortable in his wheelchair.
    Not complaining about it will do for fun,
    creative, inviting, God-glorifying and industrious.

  7. Camouflage

    Only because they said
    a picture is worth a thousand words
    or some such fairy tale older than
    Andersen or Grimm I drew

    those five rooms really four
    until Daddy carved a bathroom
    down center borrowing a bit
    from each when sewers almost

    swallowed Caterpillar tractors
    Daddy digging from road to house
    laying dark maroon clay pipe
    crowned later with porcelain loo

    with a bit of bravado the house slouched
    beneath mismatched siding shades
    of gray paint peeled back to board
    bleached by the seasons

    brightened by old sea blue shingles
    interspersed with leafy green
    that roofed those walls we scrubbed
    with Kirk’s Castile to make the oil

    based enamel shine in shades of
    Sinclair paint mostly peach and something
    not quite dark as Dinosaur Green
    disguising where stealthy termites chewed

    until the day a bed’s wooden leg
    dropped through the asphalt tiles
    in the corner of the room collaged
    with pages from yellow Geographics

    and popping more tiles we looked
    at the dirt heaped below and bits of studs
    whittled down but stubbornly upholding
    six foot ceilings sporting a single bulb

    so we patched up her scars as best
    we could spackled here and there
    painted over paint and surrounded her
    with banks of flowers kids puppies kittens

    pigeons rabbits and scrabbling chickens
    now and then dog packs marauding at 3 a.m.
    opossums and coons adding to the camouflage
    that worked wonders on a child’s mind.

  8. 2105

    Home was an apartment
    in a housing project.
    Although there were houses
    in our neighborhood, we tended
    to stick to our surroundings,
    lucky to have an abundance
    of kids for friends.
    Ours was only one building–
    72 families–of many. How
    times have changed since
    childhood. Parents and two
    children, two bedrooms, one
    bathroom. I tried to divide
    the room I shared with my
    sister in half. Somehow,
    we always found each other’s
    belongings on the opposite side.
    Although Mom worked, we could
    count on her baking–chocolate
    chip cookies, *mandelbrot, cakes,
    and rice pudding. A sterling
    cook with an extensive repertoire,
    and daughters underfoot eager
    to learn. Grandparents, aunts,
    uncles, and cousins visited
    our warm home where laughter
    was king. Our home had just
    the right amount of room
    for us.

    *mandelbrot was the equivalent of biscotti.
    I remember a long sheet coming out of the
    oven and cut into strips.

  9. Marie, I’m happy I got to “know” a bit of your dad through your writings and his occasional comment on FB. This poem shines a wonderful light on the both of you. I’m glad your football ties were strong to connect the two of you even after the time gone. Family is the key and you’ve unlocked so much! I smile inwardly when I read this.

  10. Listing

    line left from the wall separating
    the waiting area from the living room
    to the side an entrance for
    women stepping off carriages
    a kitchen in back now with electric appliances
    a plate glass window where dreamers can imagine
    to the side the maids quarters
    that became a storage room
    on second floor the servant’s quarters
    turned into a child’s bedroom
    a step outside the window a flat roof
    where the young at heart watched stars
    in front a tranquil front yard
    where a mother and her children wrote poems
    the walls of a grand old home
    speaks to the heart of memories


    Here a little, there little.
    A knick-knack that tells a story.
    Here a little, there little.
    A picture, a frozen time portal.
    Here a little, there little.
    Sublte reminders, we’re no longer immortal.
    Here a little, there little.
    There lies pieces of one’s self.
    Here a little, there little.
    Where we’ve become more or less, on the shelf.
    Here a little, there little.
    Bottles, brands, vases, faces.
    Here a little, there little.
    Home a museum memory of traces.
    Here a little, there little.
    Home is where the heart heals, bleeds.
    Here a little, there little.
    Home a treasury collection of one’s deeds.
    Here a little, there little.
    Home is where the heart leads.

    Benjamin Thomas

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