A Yellow House in Iredell County

A poem — to immortalize a love worth telling and a house that carries their memories in its heart

Mamaw and Pop pictured there in the center. Their love, the family, and the home they built together are the inspiration behind this poem.

Nestled… in the dappled Spring sunlight 
peeking through oaks, maples, and Tulip poplar 
is a country house with pale-yellow siding.
Across a corner of the weathered 
wooden-slatted front porch, a vine lazily 
stretches to find a spot in the sun.
 
Inside, the navy-blue carpet runner slinks 
up the beautiful wooden stairs that 
Pop built with bony-knuckled, work-deep hands. 
He’d have worked quietly, smiling as he thought
of the lovely young lady with the yellow flower
behind her ear, that caught him by the heart 
some fifty years past. At the wane of her 
she rang the bell, a silver tinkling call.
He shuffled to her bedside, leaned close.
“Pop, will you hold my hand?”
 
The front parlor is very much the same; 
an old-fashioned sitting room 
with milk-cream white, antique furniture, perched 
on mahogany clawed feet, elegance immutable, 
unmoved. A portrait of my young mother 
hangs there on the wall in ornate frame,
her eyes the foremothers to mine.

Arising there, a China cabinet, its gifts enclosed in a hug.
Atop a pedestal table, hand-sanded and love-stained, 
Mom’s Christmas cactus trails and cascades in forest greens
awaiting pink-winged petals, alighting in season,
a crescendo of bloom framed in autumn-light 
meandering through remembrance like a dream.
Mamaw’s spirit lingers there, her high-bubbled laugh 
carrying on like a song, her quiet dignity still holding 
together the air that holds up this house. 
In the kitchen she makes her list, there at oval
table; the names of all the children she loves.
Do you see her sitting there?
 
There are so many children here now.
 Pop would have snagged them one by one 
with a devilish grin, with navy-socked feet 
smelling of sweat and dust, and of the garden
where his watermelons juiced and plumped
on the vine. Wriggling, giggling children
were no match for the snare of Pop’s feet.
His tender chuckle rolls quietly by on the wind. 
 
Presently, titmouse and chickadee
swoop down from the trees to gather black
sunflower seeds, meal worm, and millet;
their warbling chatter and brief staccato chirps
a cacophony of tales wrapping a yellow 
house in Iredell County with enduring 
melodic memory. At night, a yellow house 
sleeps with a smile.


Thank you for reading A Yellow House in Iredell County.

Don’t Miss Updates on Christina’s Poetry and Book Releases!

Follow My New Medium Publication!

Cottonwood Wings

a poem for my son to read at the funeral


You might want to read this first



In the Spring, God brings forth life
Cottonwood drifts by on the wind.
We water our gardens with tears
for we have lost a dear friend.

Her kindness grew like tulips
Proud and colorful and tall
Her compassion, a vine reaching  
our lives and touching us all.

Our beloved Beverly was so
Warm-hearted, sweet, and caring
Loved her family with all her soul
Though cancer, in the end, unsparing.

A kind and quiet woman who
grew like the flowers
and paled into silence
in her last waning hours.

Her Spring was cut short,
Her candle burned low,
in God’s precious time
she knew she must go.

Though it’s hard for us
in this bountiful spring
we let go and know
God’s given her wings.


I was asked to write a poem for my son to read at his Step-mother’s funeral next week.

He is to speak at the funeral, at which time he will read the above poem, no doubt through shaky nerves (to my knowledge this will be his first “public speaking” engagement), and through a heavy wall of emotion. He is with-holding so much emotion about this whole thing.

As a mother, my heart is breaking for him. He has no memories of his life prior to her entering it. It is a terrible loss. How in the world do you honor that in a poem? Yet, this is the task I was given.

To make it simple enough for the country-folk family members to be able to appreciate, make it rhyme so it sounds to them like a poem, make it personal enough that it touches their hearts, Christian enough and reassuring enough so that they are comforted in their time of sorrow.

What an arduous task, but I wanted to do something. And this is what I do–so I hope you have enjoyed reading Cottonwood Wings. I am honored to have written it for my son. (I think it will mean a lot to him.)

(In Memoriam, Beverly Mullis; wife, mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, friend)

Follow My New Medium Publication!

%d bloggers like this: