The Homegoing by Freeda Baker Nichols

“I don’t recall this house,” she said, in tears.
“It’s where you raised us children, Mom,” Tom said.
“Your honeysuckle vine is over there.”
He pointed to the corner of the yard,
where blossoms red clung to a green-leafed vine.
She shook her head. “I never saw this house.”Honeysuckle 003
“The old gum tree’s where Billy broke his arm,”
Tom said, “when he fell from the highest limb.
The pies you baked you cooled upon that shelf
and Daddy liked egg custard best of all.
I liked the chocolate–don’t you recall?”
No matter how he tried, she did not seem
to recognize one memory of home.
Her babies all were born in that big bed;
the drapery at the window, she had made.
Her husband built the table out of oak; that’s
where the children bowed their heads for grace.
But not a hint of recognition sparked
her eyes while she walked slowly through the rooms.
Tom took her hand and gently led her out
the door, across the yard and to the car.
He drove the miles in silence to the Home
where she now lives with other residents.
He left her sitting in her easy chair.
There is one thing that he is certain of:
she’ll know her home in Heaven when she goes.

© Copyright Freeda Baker Nichols

A Special Brand of Love by Freeda Baker Nichols

Brown Ducks

Brown Ducks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ole Jerse

Ole Jerse

With each yank the duck squawked
but Mama kept pulling out feathers.
She needed the down to replace old,
flat pillows in faded striped ticking
Seven children slept on the pillows.
Brothers pillow-fought as peals of
laughter raised the roof of the
weathered house–a home that lasted
and bonded us with the best glue.
Love brand.  They don’t make glue like
that anymore.  At least, they don’t carry
it at Wal-Mart.  But they carry pillows.
And milk.  Cold, from the refrigerated
bin.  Milk we drank started out warm,
hand-squeezed from the Jersey cow
into a tin lard pail, then poured into a
glass molasses jug with a metal bail.
We tied a cord to the bail and put the
jug of milk into a well of cool water.
At supper, the milk tasted good with
cornbread and chopped onion soaked
in it, Daddy’s favorite treat, served
with sugar-cured, smokehouse ham.
After our meal, we took a ride in our
new but used Model T.  Watched dust
clouds behind us on Silver Rock, the
911 name of a road that had no name,
back then.  And no traffic jams–like
Wal-Mart’s parking lot on Saturdays.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

A TIME TO LET GO

A U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter...

A U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter (s/n 52-2630) RAF Mildenhall. This aircraft is today on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boeing B-47A Stratojet 49-1902 refueled by Boe...

Boeing B-47A Stratojet 49-1902 refueled by Boeing KC-97. (U.S. Air Force photo) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You carried a duffel bag
and carbine rifle aboard the KC-97.
As your plane taxied for take-off,
I held our baby son
more tightly.
See you in a little while.
Your words beat inside my heart
louder than the plane’s big engines
which roared into another country
some hours later.
Your letters came regularly, at first,
then stopped
abruptly.
Missing in Action the uniformed
officers came to tell me.

Your name is engraved
on the Wall of Vietnam Veterans,
forever in my heart
and in the heart of our son
who enlisted yesterday.
See you in a little while.
His words echoed yours
as he departed.
My words stuck in my throat,
reached into my heart and
chipped at the ice caked there.
I watched another determined
young man report for duty
and I begged, oh, please
Dear God, please.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

Sparrows in a Treetop

DSC_0245 -1

Eighteen sparrows in a treetop
Eighteen sparrows cling to a limb.
Eighteen sparrows wait with patience
for the one who comes to  feed them.

The farmer’s never too busy
to throw the birds some tasty seed.
He’s awake so bright and early,
gives to them all the food they need.

Do you know about the sparrows,
how that our Lord watches their flight?
Not one falls without Him knowing
in the day or in the dark night.

© 2013 Freeda Baker Nichols

Summer

Cropped version of Image:Abelmoschus esculentu...

That time of year following spring–
hot, dusty, sweaty; make-up running
down ladies’ faces.
Time to complain about the weather
and how you wish it would cool off.
The shade of a tree is welcome
after a long walk in the sun.
Seeds ripening, shooting forth,
okra stalks standing tall.
Okra must be picked, even when
you don’t want any more okra.
You’ve had fried okra, boiled okra,
and fried okra again until it begins to
taste flat. The old swimming hole,
children laughing. Summer.

© 2013  Freeda Baker Nichols

 

Photo credit:  Wikipedia

Holding Hands

At last

We held hands and walked past the
lilacs and apple tree blossoms,
lingering at bassinets and baby cribs,
to catch smiles, dimples,
a glimpse of an indescribable love
that came unannounced and stayed as
we held hands through the years.
We ran, we played, we laughed, we cried.
Viet Nam became thorns along our pathway
and our country stumbled when no one
welcomed home those who sacrificed
to give us freedom to hold hands, to walk
through the years–to live, to love, to be.
Since ‘Nam, other wars have claimed the core
of happiness, and tears hiding ugly scars
have formed unending rivers of regret.
Yet, our journey continues to be indescribable
and filled with love that invited our hearts
to join, to bond, to stay on the lilac-scented
pathway where we first held hands.

Our journey began not a long time ago, and yet
eternity passed while we waited for the doctor
to emerge from the operating room.  Together
we watched the expression on his face, which
told us before his words reached our ears,
that our little one would run and play again.
Holding hands, we thanked God for answering
our prayer.

We watched from the sidelines as graduating
caps hurled skyward hid the sun, and our children
marched away to drums pounding loud tunes only
they could hear.  Tears roared  like rivers.
Undercurrents tumbled regret, happiness, sadness,
pride, laughter, mixing the emotions that swirled
in our hearts.

We stroll past the lilacs that bloom now with less
color and past the apple tree that no longer bears
fruit. We stroll, holding hands.

© 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

Photo source: Flickr.com through Zemanta

A Journey into Poetry . . .

Tiger

Come and I will take you on a journey with words.  Along the way, we will see tigers and  morning glories.  We will walk the flowered forests of Arkansas and skim the shimmering seas of never-never land . . . for I am a poet.

As we walk through fields of morning glories dressed in shades of sky blue, be careful always to watch out for tigers.  Though their many stripes are splendid, and their breath is warm as fresh cow’s milk, their paws hold deadly claws.  Yet their touch is that of kittens . . . for I am a poet.         (From my chapbook, Tigers and Morning Glories . . . a journey into poetry . . . )

© 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

Morning Glories

Clean House

English: Partly black and white icon of broom ...

January swept in
after the holidays,
like dust
in front of a broom–
gray, cold, swirling.

Vacuum screamed.
I removed a sock.
Bubbie’s. He’d looked
for it before he left.
“Never keeps up with
anything,” his mother
complained.

Careful how you scold,
I wanted to caution my
daughter-in-law,
but kept silent.

Found a spoon
Bubbie’s little sister
hid in the Mother-in-law’s
Tongue with half a
banana.

I fluffed the pillows,
swiped the table
with Pledge, replaced
a doily and candy dish.

Remembered my son
at Bubbie’s age, and . . .
later on, how handsome
he looked in uniform,
green beret covering
his military style
crew cut.

Memories swept in
gray, cold, swirling.

©Copyright, 2013,  Freeda Baker Nichols

My Daddy — Keeper of the Reins ———— Day 29 napowrimo

The brim on the gray felt hat
that shaded his face
in hot summertime
was soaked with perspiration
but no sun could erase or
lessen the deep blue
of his eyes because
my daddy’s heart controlled them.

© Copyright,2013, Freeda Baker Nichols