Alan L. Winters


So long ago I called this home.
It thrived when I was young.
A Currier and Ives perched high upon a hill.
Look there, across the road,
That was Bob and Jane's
Where a bag of gumdrops cost a dime
And the Coke was free sometimes.
Just down the street was Danny's bar
Where some men spent their pay.
Then wives would come to fetch 'em home
To sleep and work another day.
Lucy's on the corner
Sold all the shoes and suits.
I remember on one Christmas day
I got a sled and brand new boots.
And all the men in town
Worked the place called Harper's Hole
And deep within the shaft
Would bring up all its coal
But then one day we heard a blast
Then heard the whistle whine.
And knew our worst fears had come true,
A fire in the mine.
My daddy and his brother
Lost their lives that day
And the rest of us who remained
Packed up and moved away.
But that was long ago
And now that I am grown,
I felt it time for pilgrimage
To a place I once called home.
I learned that Bob had passed away
And Danny's up in Maine.
But no one heard from Lucy,
No one heard from Jane.
I heard the mine had soon shut down
As the people moved away,
And wondered of the fate of home
If they decided all to stay.
Now all the shops are boarded up
And weeds grow in the lane.
A place called home is all but gone,
But my memories still remain.

Alan L. Winters: Long Ago Home
Photo ©Copyright by Alan L. Winters

Author’s Note: A friend at work had commented about so many mom and pop stores in his neighborhood shutting down because of bigger chains. I got to thinking about that (as poets do) and came up with this poem about a West Virginia man coming back to his old home town. As I was writing it I heard the poem in my own voice but the first time I read it out loud at work it was most definitely a southern accent. So I decided that was how it was to be read from then on.

ALW: January 2, 2007