Going Home


Paul, Tipper, Steve – Easter morning 1980 something


By Grace Pennington  © 1986

I turn the key in the old rusty lock,
The door swings open wide.
“I’m home!” I call across the threshold,
But only emptiness replies.

Mama could be in the kitchen,
Fixing my favorite food.
Papa could be out back,
Chopping some kindling wood.

Where is my brother, the dreamer?
Is he upstairs reading a book?
Or out in the woods playing Indian?
In a moment I’ll take a look.

I wander down the hallway
And peek in all the rooms.
They’re just as I remembered.
Oh, but it’s good to be home!

I sit down at the dining room table
In the place that was always mine.
I look around and see all the faces
Of those I left behind.

I climb the narrow stairway
To the room I still call my own
Where many happy hours were spent
During childhood, long since gone.

I touch the iron bedstead,
The quilt with stitches small.
Where is the girl who slept here?
Is she there in the glass on the wall?

Will I see her as she was then
Before her hair turned gray?
Will I see an aged reflection
Or the girl of yesterday?

I gaze out my bedroom window
At the trees and the yard below.
Why do weeds and briars
So close to the house seem to grow?

Why does a full-grown forest
Seem to stand in the place
Of the wide green pasture
Where cows ought to graze?

Why does the garden
Where food should be growing
Seem with bushes and brambles
To be overflowing?

Why can’t I hear footsteps
In the kitchen downstairs?
Why are no axe blows
Ringing on the air?

Where is the book that Brother was reading?
Why are no drums in the forest beating?
Why does it seem that no one is here?
Why does my heart suddenly clutch with fear?

Oh! why does it seem
that no one is here?


Grace allowed me to share her wonderful bittersweet poem with you. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I do. I’m happy and satisfied with my adult life, but if given the chance I’d jump at going back one more time to the place where it was just Pap, Granny, the boys, and me.


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  • Reply
    Grace Pennington Cox
    March 12, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Thanks to everyone for your sweet comments. I’m glad you like the poem. Most people in my age group probably have a home place somewhere, if only in their memories, that still tugs at their hearts. The old house where I was born and raised still stands in Turkey Wallow Hollow, Wyoming County, West Virginia. (Visit my Facebook to see a recent picture.) It and the land still belong to my family, as they have for nearly 175 years. I hope once again to turn the key in the old rusty lock, but at 79, it is rather doubtful that I will get to do so. Too many miles.

  • Reply
    W. Hip.
    March 12, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Excellent poem. Thanks for posting.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    March 10, 2018 at 6:27 pm


  • Reply
    March 9, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    Our children’s and grandchildren’s memories won’t be like ours, but in their own way, I hope they find then just as beautiful, just as haunting, just as bittersweet, and just as treasured.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    March 9, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    love the poem

  • Reply
    March 9, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    What a beautiful Poem! I see now why you Posted it. When I was much younger, I never dreamed how things would change. How I would like to go back, just for a day, to see Daddy and Mama and my five brothers and tell them how much I love them. I recon they all know it tho, but what a Reunion that will be someday in Heaven. …Ken

  • Reply
    Jerry Finley
    March 9, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    I have saved the past 3 years of the Blind Pig in back up files. They are still there but I cannot get into them. I enjoyed going back to them , especially the music. Any idea what I might have done to mess this up? Is there anything I can do to get access to them ?

    Thanks for any help you might be able to give me.


    • Reply
      March 11, 2018 at 5:57 pm


      Hope you are well! You didn’t do anything wrong-it was my move that broke the links to the posts you had saved. There is a way you can still see them though.

      On my new site at the top right of the page is a little magnifying glass.

      Find the name of one of the posts you wanted to see again-for example Until Then.

      Click on the magnifying glass and then type in Until Then and hit enter. Then the post should show up on the page. There may be several show up-but just look for the one you want and click on the title of the post to see the entire thing.

      I’m sorry I didn’t think about anyone saving my posts-which really makes me happy that you cared enough to save them! I’m just sorry the move messed up the links. Let me know if this works or if you need anything else.

      Have a great night!

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    March 9, 2018 at 11:05 am

    When my parents were still here with us I remember being down South visiting and taking my Mother and my Aunt out to the old place. My Aunt said to my Mother, “Wouldn’t you love to just have one day to spend with Momma.” Their Mother had passed on to heaven about 20 years ago. I now think like you, Tipper, if I could jump back one more time I would too. My Mother had told my Aunt “You can’t go back.” I do go back and visit through my memories and just like the poem says I can walk through the houses and yards. I can see Mother working in the kitchen as that was where she always seemed to be and Daddy building something or working outside in the yard. These memories of unfailing love and protection and yes fun while growing up, provide a sweet respite from the world’s craziness. The most precious thought though is knowing I will get to see them all again when I get to heaven. True the old home place doesn’t look the same but there is a new one waiting for us.

    • Reply
      March 9, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Heaven is the old home place we are looking for and looking forward to.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    March 9, 2018 at 10:36 am

    what a beautiful heartfelt poem..thank you for sharing it with us…I too have gotten very nostalgic lately…thinking of the old days…wishing for the carefree days..painfree ones and our loved ones still with us…sigh..have a wonderful weekend. sending love and big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    March 9, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Everyone above said it better than I can. I’m just not sure future generations will ever have those feelings or memories. All they seem to want is the next text. I can still go back to laying in summer grass and all I could hear was buzzing of bees and a lone cow bell.
    How wonderful it was to be safe and secure like that.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    March 9, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Lovely poem, Tipper. I have some poems about going back home and they are bittersweet also. Love the photo of you and your brothers.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2018 at 9:28 am

    I often have such nostalgic thoughts, but ” you can never go home again”.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2018 at 9:15 am

    That is a beautiful poem! I wish I could go back to the way it used to be if only for a day. Most of all, I wish my kids and grandkids could share that trip back with me. We can go back home now, but it’s nothing like it used to be. The book, “It’s Not My Mountain Anymore” says it all.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2018 at 9:00 am

    A lovely poem! And so true — it seems like just yesterday, too!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2018 at 8:36 am

    My experience is quite the opposite. Mommy and Daddy had six kids. Only the oldest, Harold, was gone when they left us. I left a few months after Mommy died. Returning home when you are getting older is what is expected. A houseful of teenagers and young adults suddenly without an anchor point is chaos.

    My hair didn’t turn gray. It went away!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 9, 2018 at 8:22 am

    It is a season in life, to look back to childhood and think about the change between then and now. But the generations coming along behind us are not there yet and cannot understand it just as we did not at their age. It seems so out of kilter somehow that when they do understand we are likely to be gone. That alone illustrates why it is such a blessing for grandchildren to have lots of time with their grandparents. The day will come when they will appreciate their heritage and childhood memories will become more meaningful.

    Your post reminds me of “Who Will Watch the Homeplace” and Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me”. Both are about the memories the house holds, thus the relationships connected with a place. That is one of the reasons why it kinda disturbs me to see the shows that feature ruthlessly ripping out what others built.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    March 9, 2018 at 7:52 am

    This is a haunting poem and so true. I try to live my life, as my Boy says, “chill.” But, I always know when I’m stressed out because I dream either about the home I grew up in or my Grandma’s house. I guess that is where my subconscious mind goes for safety.

    On the one hand, that sounds kinda sad. On the other, those places continue to protect me even now. Home is a powerful place.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    March 9, 2018 at 7:36 am

    Beautiful, moving poem. Anita

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 9, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Only from a perspective of age can one see so clearly. I certainly share Grace’s view. Thanks for the memory!
    I enjoyed the poem and your certainly correct naming it bittersweet.
    I did not realize that Paul was a blond headed child!

  • Reply
    William Buntin
    March 9, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Thanks for sharing. As I grow older and near my end, I see that home as described to be exactly like my Grand parents homestead.
    I was raised there for two years as my Dad was in the Seabees and my Mom worked in a tank factory to support the Big War effort. My uncles were all in the military. These memories flood my mind and are bittersweet.
    They are, however, the memories of my early life, while all the wonderful characters are gone, I have some tangible remnants of that life but most importantly, those beautiful memories! Thanks again & God Bless!

  • Reply
    Sheryl PaulI
    March 9, 2018 at 6:42 am

    How beautiful

  • Reply
    March 9, 2018 at 5:20 am

    I have pictures of long ago in my head, we had the perfect childhood, I always say, had endless acres and creeks to roam on, a boy’s growing paradise, so many memories there, but it’s all changed now, houses and trailers are setting on much of the land, no kids playing on the creek like before, cows not grazing in the pastures. Kinda depressing if you linger on it.

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