Home

Thinking of home, a bit of longing in the form of a haibun, in response to the dverse prompt.

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It’s there when you pass the oak copse, a solid place of golden stone, watching over the water meadow and ancient willow trees. The cows are gone now and nothing grazes the lush grass, but jays shriek at our arrival and the orioles pause in their fluting. The house is cool when the sun is hot, red and orange terracotta floor tiles take the heat and keep it safe for later. Shutters creak open, heavy hinges sigh with elderly pleasure, and lime-washed plaster walls, wooden beams and the quick skitter of lizards over the sill greet the light.

There’s a kitchen with a stone sink and a farmhouse table, and a fireplace I can stand up inside. There’s a bedroom with a fireplace and a bed, and a study with a window looking south and a window looking west, that was a best room for an old lady who believed in best rooms. Above is an attic full of dust motes and owls where we will make rooms for visitors, the only change we will make, for when our wild geese return and our nest fills again.

 

Sun on red tiled roof,

summer clay floor, lizard-streaked,

sky, stone, stars, always.

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Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

53 thoughts on “Home”

    1. I don’t know whether it was a choice or whether poor farmers always used terracotta because it was cheap and you can lay the floor straight onto the dirt beneath. There are no foundations, no cellar, not even any guttering. All very basic, but that’s the charm of it—unspoiled.

  1. I like the coolness of that house, overlooking the meadow and willow tree ~ Such a good place at the attic for your animal guests Jane ~ And your haiku is superb with lizard-streaked imagery ~

  2. The last few lines and this “where we will make rooms for visitors, the only change we will make, for when our wild geese return and our nest fills again.” build such a strong feeling of continuance- past still solid – building for the future.Timeless. Classic

    1. Thank you 🙂 We have a big house in town where each of the children has her/his own room and although most of them are either moving out or thinking about it, they want to keep one foot in the family door. We’ll have to adapt the new house to fit them in.

  3. What a lovely elegy to the place that beckons you home. I love the notion of wild geese flying back from time to time … mine are surely that.

      1. I saw your comment about following my blog before it disappeared in a puff of smoke. I have been to check out your work. It’s not as simplistic as mine 🙂

  4. There are many old stone homes out here in Texas, some have Terra Cotta tile. Many of them are from long ago. They look to be kind of broken down, but are deceptively solid. Most of the old ones were built by poor Mexican laborers, working for Far Less Than They deserved. That’s sad, but they built lasting homes. Your Haibun takes me back to the ranch days

    1. Our place is the equivalent of sharecropper’s. The land and the house were rented, just enough to make a living from. The old couple who lived there before us had been there since the 1920’s, and were the first occupant to save up enough money to buy the house and land (about ten acres) in the early 1980s from the owners. They ended up selling half of it off, the vineyard, to pay for upkeep of the house, then the cows went when the old man died. It’s just meadow now. The house is a poor man’s house, but as you say, solid and lasting, and full of memories.

      1. 7000 acres???? That’s huge by our standards! Depends on what the land is like I suppose. We don’t have heating except for open fires and no insulation or proper plumbing, but I wouldn’t fancy drinking water from the stream. Farmers have a nasty habit of spraying pesticides that go straight into the river system.

    1. It was a cheat really. I used to imagine my dream home and then we actually found it. It has warts, of course, but we’re looking for the money now to shave them off. You can do anything if you have the spondoolies.

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