Bleak skies hover
An old home stands in silence
Awaiting final darkness.
Once a family fortress,
Offering sanctuary for her loved ones.
The bite of winter’s night left no sting
Crackling coals warmed hearth and hearts
A hot poker stirred fireplace embers
Hickory smoke wound from the chimney.
Musk of baked bread wafted through the halls
A mother’s face smiled above a blue-rimmed platter
Of steaming potatoes and succulent roast
Soft oven mittens protected frail hands.
Now the pantry is empty
Ashes lie cold in the dusty fireplace
Cobwebs, dampness permeate musty rooms
Tarnished windows reflect dark clouds.
Winter wind blows
In its haunting howl the old house trembles
Familiar footsteps no longer cross the threshold
Echoes of the past grow ever fainter.
The children have grown old
A forgotten swing sways below a barren branch
Once cherished, now forsaken
The old home will succumb to winter’s icy mantle.
[NOTE: Poem is a tribute to former Lance Crossing home on US 129, Ranger, NC]