In “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy only had to click her ruby heels three times while repeating, “There’s no place like home,” and there she was, back in Kansas. Going home may not be quite that easy for the rest of us, but poetry can be the way we click our heels to get there. Quite often, the journey is healing.
In poetry, home has been written as the “brick and mortar” of actual places, as memories, and as imagined places. Home has also represented relationships: failed relationships, for example, as in C. P. Cavafy's "The Afternoon Sun."
Home is also an effective backdrop for the pain of loss, as in
A “home poem” may be about a place once shared with people who are no longer living, as in W. S. Merwin's "A Single Autumn."
Poems about home may recall the furnishings and people of a particular place and remember how a certain home felt, as in Gerald Stern's "The Dancing."
Houses may figure in the imagery for poems about people as in Mark Strand's
Home poems may also be about giving up or selling a home or about moving from one home to another, as in Ruth Stone's "The Cabbage."
For this prompt, let's write a poem about home. Here are some things to think about:
1. What memories do you have of a childhood home?
2. Is there a place you’ve lived that was special to you?
3. What happiness have you found in a particular home? What sadness?
4. Is there anyone with whom you once shared a home and now miss?
5. Can you think of something in your life for which “home” may be a metaphor?
6. Is there a particular object (piece of furniture, painting, lamp, etc.) that evokes the feeling of a former home for you?
7. How has a place you’ve lived been a “castle” for you?
8. Is there a “haunted House” in your history (a home that haunts you in some way)?