Visiting the Home Place

Visiting the Home Place


By Elton Camp

I went back to see the old home place this year

For no location on earth is, to me, nearly so dear

My grandfather built the house with his own hands

Despite the passing years, I have heard it still stands

Its grounds he tended and trimmed with loving care

I hope that his shrubbery and flowers are still there

That it wasn’t the finest around I now understand

But in my memory, it was roomy and quite grand

The wide front porch where the family sat at night

The day’s work done, all seemed calm and right

Parlor with stuffed chairs, piano against the wall

How fondly, and with such detail, I recall them all

Baking prizes my grandmother won at the state fair

Now in my house and preserved with greatest care

My mother’s bedroom when she was a child

It’s where she slept, played, read and smiled

Master bedroom where my grandparents slept

All these years, their carved bed I have kept

Then the dining room with its massive table

To seat family and many friends it was able

Its shiny marigold carnival glass bowl

Was by my mother trusted to my control

I protect it on display in my house still

And, if possible, hope that we always will

The country kitchen, of treats a treasure trove

I can vaguely remember a black wood stove

The people I so loved are no longer alive

By my visit, to honor them, I will strive

The once-familiar road I drive with care

Knowing that very soon we will be there

Perhaps the ones who reside there now

Will allow us to tour the house somehow

Then, in the distance, its outline I can see

Coming closer I cry, “This surely cannot be.”

For the place that I once had loved so well

Is now an abandoned, collapsing empty shell

Where are all the flowers and shrubbery gone?

A massive oak, slowing dying, stands alone

The fine old barn where, as a child, I’d play

Has, long ago, fallen into ruin & rotted away

An old adage springs into my mind right then

One now seen true,  “You can’t go home again.”

So I drive slowly on by with the greatest regret

Yet, for the memories, I remain forever in debt

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A poem of sadness, not one of my typical humor writes.