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Home



I want to go home, the tired child whines
and his mother silently agrees—
though she doesn’t want to encourage his bellyaching.

Her sore feet shuffle their complaints and her back groans assent,
her hips remembering wearily how they have stretched five times
to cradle five small hearts.


Home, the child knows, is rest and food
comfort and consolations for all the woes he can imagine—
a warm bed to burrow in with a good book.

He doesn’t even fathom the blessings of roof and walls
for he cannot imagine life without them.
Without electric light and water flowing from the taps
every time he carelessly turns them.

His thoughts cannot comprehend an empty pantry,
refrigerator like a tomb, or home vanished like the shifting clouds
that play upon the pond.

Nor does she think about it— much.
But homeward her heart yearns to
an empty chair where she can put up
her feet for a while before the kitchen
calls her into service.

Simcha Fisher has started a drawing challenge to get us through the time of quarantine. #withdraw2020

Here are the rules:

1. Draw something every day.
2. Use the daily prompts (literally or as inspiration), or just draw whatever you want.
3. Any medium is fine, as long as it’s your own work.
4. Share it on social media and tag it #withdraw2020.

That’s it! As you shall see when you see my stuff, you don’t have to be an accomplished artist. If you miss a day, just pick up the next day.

I didn’t really have time to sit and draw. Ok, I’ll be honest I sketched something out and hated the way it came out. But, someone suggested that the prompts could easily be poetry prompts. So I decided to go that route today.

Ben, Anthony, and Lucy all decided to participate too. They whipped out their sketchbooks. And then they each dictated some lines of poetry for me to write down for them. Sadly, my computer lost their poems when the word processor crashed. But their words directly inspired mine. So here is my poem and their drawings. Maybe you’d like to join us?

2 Responses to Home

  1. bearing March 17, 2020 at 10:18 am #

    That’s lovely. I really like how you decided to go with poetry instead of drawing, not that I don’t enjoy your artwork too, I just admire your flexibility.

    I love Anthony’s little burrow. Is he thinking of himself as an animal? My 6yo is a different animal every couple of days. Or is there something just sort of homey about burrowing? I like the way *he* thought outside the box, or saltbox, or whatever. 🙂

    • Melanie Bettinelli March 17, 2020 at 2:30 pm #

      Thank you. When a commenter on Simcha’s suggested using them as poetry prompts I felt this immediate sense of lifting, lightness, excitement. Even though I like drawing, I’m often frustrated by the gulf between my ideas and my execution and I almost never stick to these drawing challenges because I just don’t really have time in my daily schedule to devote to the kind of work satisfactory drawing requires. But I can compose poetry in my head while cooking and doing the dishes.

      Which is when most of this poem wrote itself. Bella actually came into the kitchen to offer to help and I shooed her off with a perfunctory: I’m writing a poem, which as a fellow poet, she immediately understood. Of course then dinner was late and then so was bedtime… but I had my poem.

      I’m really sad that Anthony, Lucy, and Ben’s poems were lost. They were such sweet little litanies about what home is to them. And all of them involved comfort and coziness. Anthony rattled off about half a dozen ideas off the top of his head at the prompt and I also love that he went with the burrow. He tends to be my burrower. He loves to hide under his blankets– he asked for a weighted blanket for his birthday, even. And I suspect there is an element of retreat to a snug nest in his drawing.

      Their images of home, the word images especially, informed my poem as did Sunday afternoon’s hike. The kids asked which of them my poem was about, but really it’s none of them specifically and all of them at various times. Currently I’m not actually in that much pain when I walk and didn’t hit that stage on Sunday, but I have been in the past and I wanted to dramatize it.

      I initially ha a very different idea for a “home” poem and I still might manage to write that other one. But poetry is a funny thing, sometimes it just comes.

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