Posts Tagged ‘home’



When it was over, he came home.

Not marching proudly to cheers.

Not saluting the flag he served

nor waving from an open car.

He came home in a box

draped in the colors of his country,

and his family wept.


Twenty years is but a sip

of life’s sweet nectar . . .

There will never be a wife to hold,

a son to dog his footsteps,

or daughter to ply her wiles on Daddy.


His Mother hadn’t seen him

for two years, and at the services

she wanted to kiss him goodbye,

but knew she could not raise the lid

of his military coffin

sealed thousands of miles from home.

Instead, she asked, “Did they wash his face?”

“Did they place a pillow beneath his head?”


During her final illness

I overheard her speaking softly

to her beloved son.

She passed away, content

in what he had told her,

a smile on her face

as she joined him.



2/18/93        Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck


5’th … NFSPS – 2000

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 (For Robbie )


The Heavenly Gates were open

          An Angel looked and smiled

For coming up the Golden Path

          Was a sweet innocent child


Heaven’s radiance seemed to beckon

          So the child entered in

The Angels plucked their harp strings

          And sang a lovely hymn


With tears of pain he brought from earth

          Still damp upon his face

The child stood in wonder

          When he saw the Throne of Grace


And then his face brightened

          As he ran to the Throne

Where in the Savior’s arms he felt

          The greatest love known


Then all his anguish vanished

          Through Heaven’s tender care

He knew Heaven was really home

          And he’d be happy there.


6/16/79        Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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           (Griffith. Indiana)


I journeyed to my old homestead

before they tore it down.

Just a weathered run-down farmhouse,

a mile or two from town.


It was built from hand-hewn timber

with roof of tin and tile,

but I saw beauty in its form

and couldn’t help but smile.


The framework of the old homestead

was broken here and there.

This relic from another time,

was well past all repair.


Gaping wounds where doors once hung

from hinges made of brass.

A crumbling chimney of old bricks,

and windows minus glass.


Inside, the ceilings wept from leaks,

and holes exposed the sky.

The papered walls were peeling down,

and fixtures hung awry.


I walked around on sagging floors

that creaked in mild protest,

hearing echoes from the past

while on this memory quest.


And then my heart was overwhelmed

with feelings memories bring,

and I was quick to realize,

that a house is just a thing.


For home is what we make a house,

by sharing time and space,

with love and grace and tolerance

and smiles upon our face.


So it wasn’t just an old abode

of ceiling, wall, and floor . . .

it was the home inside the house

that I’d been longing for


The house now dies in sad decay

But the home will never fade away.



9/7/92     Phyllis DeWitt VanVleck


5’th … Arkansas NPD 1997

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People are aghast at my neighbor’s ugly yard

Because it insists on doing its own thing,

Surrounded by pampered manicured lawns.

At first glance it looks like Don King’s hair

In a windstorm, wild and untrainable.


I think Don King would like this yard,

That dares to be different.

Actually it has great appeal, and I yearn

To copy-cat, but I don’t want to face the wrath

Of the “Committee For Getting Rid of That Damn Yard.”


Lawns that look like velvet carpets are nice to lie upon

As you stargaze or cloud-watch,

But it will never offer up the glories of my neighbor’s

Patch of nature in the wild:

Wild flowers unfolding their beauty among the rocks,

Wisteria curling around a rusty wagon wheel,

Woodfern unfurling their fiddleneck fronds,

Bluebells ringing in sweet accord,

Sly jack in the pulpit peeking out from

Behind a piece of log,

Tiny bluets, hugging the earth, hoping not to be crushed,

A burst of yucca, slcing the air with it’s leaves,

Blue lupine, firebush, forest-green moss, poppies—

Flashing a symphony of color.

There are many minuscule flowers, so dainty

They take one’s breath away.

This little piece of paradise is a haven

For the butterflies, ladybugs, fuzzy caterpillars,

And toads who call it home.

Nature at its best.


My neighbor’s ugly yard?


            Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

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