I can hardly believe it's been over three months since my last post. Even though I haven't participated, I've been enjoying all the great poems, book reviews, and interviews on the Poetry Friday blogs. I've missed being part of the fun. Today I'm jumping back in so I can reconnect with with other poetry lovers.
There have been some big changes in my life lately. One of the biggest changes is that we moved. We loved our old house, but it took a lot of time and money to maintain. It's just the two of us now so we decided to downsize to a much smaller house. Each week our excitement grew as we watched our dream home become a reality. We moved just two days before school started, and we worked like crazy to get unpacked and settled. Now, eight weeks later, the furniture is arranged, pictures are hung, and life is getting back to normal. Everything looks really nice.
So why doesn't it feel like home? Change has always been hard for me, and I've had to make a lot of changes since we moved. But, there seemed to be something missing, and I couldn't figure it out. So I turned to poetry for help. I pulled three collections from my bookshelf and spent a few evenings curled up on the sofa reading poems that reminded me any place can be "home."
The more I read, the more I realized that the reason it doesn't feel like home here is because this house is still empty. There are no memories to fill it up. It's memories and traditions not rooms full of pretty furniture that make a house a home. My very sweet daughter-in-law sensed what I've been feeling and emailed me the other day with some ideas for our family Christmas gathering and new traditions we can start this year. And, right this very minute, my husband is working in the basement turning it into a perfect playground for memories with a family room, guest room, and a playroom for my grandchildren. So I'm feeling better because soon our new house will be brimming with memories. It won't just be our house, it will be our home.
Moving is hard, and it can be especially stressful on children. I found a lot hope and comfort in the following three collections. The first is Home: A Journey Through America. Thomas Locker's breathtaking paintings compliment glorious poems by some of my favorite poets including: Jane Yolen, Eloise Greenfield, and Joseph Bruchac.
The godfather of poetry, Lee Bennett Hopkins, brings us Home to Me: Poems Across America. Stehpne Alcorn's brillant illustrations accompany poems by many popular poets including: Janet Wong, Tony Johnston, Alice Schertle, and Ann Whitford Paul. This book more than any other reminds me that home is the people and places we carry in our hearts.
Moving Day by Ralph Fletcher ( I've been a fan of his poetry since I heard him read from his first collection Water Planet way back in 1994) is filled with heartfelt poems children and adults can relate to. One of my favorite poems from the collection starts like this:
With the furniture gone
our house feels different.
The rooms are echoey.
The walls are blank
except for lighter squares
where our family pictures hung.
The rest of the poem goes on to describe how although the house now feels really big, there was "enough love/ to fill all these empty rooms." Ralph captured just the way I felt as I looked around an old house one last time before we closed the door. You can read more "home" poems by other poets here.
Speaking of home, Poetry Friday is home to all who love poetry. Be sure to visit this week's hostess,
Linda at TeacherDance for more poetry joy!