Saturday, November 12, 2011

Poetry Prompt #78 – Home

This week’s prompt invites you to write a poem about “home.”

“Home” may mean many things to us – it may be a physical place or it may signify the center of our world (the heart of our immediate reality). “Home” may be the brick-and-mortar of childhood homes, homes in which we’ve lived as adults, places in which memories were made, or places in which joys were shared and hearts were broken. “Home” may be imagined or mythical locations, dreamscapes, or the metaphorical geography of a particular place. “Home” may include specific attachments, relationships with others, things we said and did, and experiences that helped or hurt us.

“Home” has long provided inspiration for poets. In William Stafford's "One Home," a childhood home is remembered; in "Home Again Home Again," A. F. Moritz reflects upon time, aging, and family.

“Home” may represent both place and people as in Gerald’s Stern’s "The Dancing," and relationships may be revealed through “home” as in Adrienne Rich’s "Living in Sin."

W. H. Auden’s collection About the House (1965) is an extended analogy between the house as a building and the building of the self. For Auden, “home” becomes an extension of “self” through poems that look into physical rooms as well as into their metaphorical equivalents. Click Here to Order About the House

Other Examples:

Some things to think about before writing:

What memories do you have of a childhood home?
What’s your “dream home?”
If a genie granted you the wish to go home for a while, where would you go?
When you think of “home,” what people do you think of?
How has a particular home impacted your life?
What memories of a home can you express through attachments within and to that home?
Does where you live (or where you have lived) define you in any way?
How does a home have two inner spaces – physical and metaphorical?
Is there a “home” in your life that isn’t a physical structure?
Is there a person in your life who represents “home” to you?

By way of sharing, here’s a poem from my book What Matters about the day I sold my childhood home: 

Selling the Family House

I didn’t plan to be undone
by a catbird crying, irises in
bloom where a cherry tree stood,
the baby, born dead, buried there;

or those ovals on the wall where
our pictures were hung, holes
from the nails that held them.

The house – empty or nearly
empty –  crumbles into itself.
I leave a few books on their shelf.
Some shimmer, the others are rags.

What voice do I hear (or want to
hear)? The catbird cries; the earth
turns on wing-boned fingers.


  1. Hi Adele,

    I hope the pain of losing your dear little Bijou is beginning to lessen and that you are comforted by happy memories.

    Thank you for this great prompt.


  2. I forgot to say in the first comment that your poem, Adele, has the most amazing haunting/haunted quality (so ghostly - the baby's burial place, the ovals on the wall where pictures were hung, the catbird's cry). You do so much in so few lines.

    A stunning poem!


  3. Thank you, Jamie! And thank you again for being such a loyal reader and commenter!

  4. Another great prompt! The old cliche "there's no place like home" comes to mind, along with "home sweet home" and home again, home again."

  5. Thanks, Bob! I thought of those phrases too while writing the prompt.