My Homeplace on Banner Mountain



Clear water drifts through swimmin’ holes
across flat rocks and over roots,
around un-cut cane fishing poles
where, at night, a barn owl hoots.

Pale moons still shine
above the meadow wonderland
where our heifer, Clementine, gave birth
to a calf too weak to stand.

By kerosene lantern’s yellow light,
Yvonne and I encouraged the calf to eat.
We braved the fear of dark midnight                                                                                           
to help him stand on his wobbly feet.

Moss grows now where the choppin’ block stood
under the shade of a black jack tree
where Daddy split  the kindlin’ wood
and handed the pine-scented chips to me

to carry to the apple crate
behind the stove in our front room.
The paling fence, its fallin’-down gate
are memories now. Plum trees still bloom,

perfumin’ bud-fresh mountain air
around our house of weathered boards.
In the garden, Mama gathered with care
speckled bird egg beans and dipper gourds.

I would do again the things I’ve done–
feed white Leghorns from a brown tow sack,
walk barefoot in the April sun
but there’s no way that I can go back.

I’ll cling to memories like the skin on a peach
and trust that time will not erase
the sound of the baby barn owl’s screech
near the swimmin’ hole at my old home place.

c Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols

9 comments on “My Homeplace on Banner Mountain

  1. Dorothy Johnson says:

    you have lovely memories of another time when work was hard, but life was simpler. Write on! I like your photography, too. Nice book cover. i look forward to reading your book.


  2. Greg says:

    Not knowing you, one would still find pleasure in reading these memories; for me, knowing you (as your son) and having seen what once was the place from which these cherished memories evolved, they are all the more poignant. Thanks for having those memories, and thanks for sharing them. Really like!!!!!


    • Thanks! What a nice and welcome surprise! I always like to see a “new comment” pop in and I really liked seeing that this one is from my son! Yvonne said that this memory brought tears.


  3. Wonderful to have such colorful memories–thanks for sharing!


  4. I’ve seen some good haiku on posts lately, and think of yours and your instructions on how to write it. I wish I would pick it up and work at it. It does not come easy for me although I’ve turned out a couple good ones–in my time! lol


  5. Darrel Nichols says:

    Good. I remember those days. Seems like they were better and more peaceful than today but they probably weren’t for our parents.


  6. Pitty says:

    How great that you have a new/another venue for your “memory” poems. No telling when a magazine editor might pick one of them up for his/her magazine.

    I’m searching my files for haiku/tanka about either trees,forest, orjungle for the annual Season’s Greeting Letters compiled by M. Siddiqui from Maryland.


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