Shirley Wright transports us back home with thoughts of Thanksgivings past: a room filled with family, chinking silverware on the good china, and trying not to spill the gravy on the linen tablecloth. Whether your house is a distant memory or new to you, you’ll enjoy these poems about home.
The Larger Circle
The turkey, the green bean casserole, The sweet potato soufflê, and the Macaroni and cheese all take turns In the oven. That, of course, only after the turkey Is golden brown and laid out On the carving board awaiting the work Of the knife. Finally it’s my time—my special time— To whip the tablecloth into the air, To fluff it and then to settle it Over the table. Mother’s china, mother-in-law's crystal, Our own silver from our twenty-fifth Are laid out, readied for all nineteen to appear ‘Round the table. We wish the others could show up— Mother taking delight in her old china or Mom ecstatic that her crystal never found its way To the Goodwill! Daddy would take delight in father/son projects Done in the garage and backyard, Dad would smile over son’s favorite chair shared Always with a grandchild or two. We will pull up no additional chairs, Set no other plates or knives or forks, But when we hold hands to say grace we are sure They are there— Their hands holding each of ours!
Our Old House
Some houses Have scarcely been around Long enough to boast A sense of history or shared memories. But our old house— That's different story. For she has held Family after family— Smiled with them as they Carved out a corner for A new baby they would Welcome in their midst. Encouraged them as Funds ran short and as Pantry shelves emptied Without a garden harvest in sight. Whispered reassurance as they Sent sons and daughters off to war And grieved with them when they Learned there would be no “Welcome-homes!” We ask ourselves, “Have they moved or Are they here with us, Spectators into the lives of still another family?” “Will we feel their presence As we lift up Thanksgiving prayers? Will we find unlabeled packages under the tree, Gifts of wisdom from a century’s-worth of residents?”
The Move to Winterville: Fifteenth House/Forty-four Years
It’s the fifteenth house in forty-four years. The giant truck arrives, the movers hoisting boxes and heavy furniture. All day long they bark, “Where do ‘ya want this?” And with great expertise she waves her arms and indicates spots about the house. Then with tender care she ponders over the grand piano, seeking to-the-inch precision as to its placement on the living room floor. And all day long people stop by to offer their words of welcome, to say, “Hope you’ll be happy here!” At evening they park tired bodies on the sofa facing the fireplace, holding hands and sipping hot chocolate from the only cups they could find amidst the massive chaos. It—like many gone before— is a new beginning.