Thursday, April 2, 2009

A House Gone South

There is a house on Charlevoix, a choice estate high on a mound
And bound around its ample girth stand firs and bushes dense and green—
Stood once stand still, but in the past a flag cracked high atop a mast
And nights on summer walks I saw warm lights from windows large and small
And in the Fall at times red lights and movement, music, cheer announced
A party underway to celebrate the harvest on Wall Street,
Halloween, or was it just the summer’s end? The house had two
Perhaps three children, too, and in the day you’d see abandoned on
The drive the boy’s turned-over trike and girls’ forgotten dolls and toys.

But that was then.

One fine day three years ago a For Sale sign appeared, discreet and
Tucked away, almost as if to say we want to sell but yet we
May still change our mind. Bushes slowly hid the sign behind
Their leaves, and then time seemed to stop as on a dime because the life
Inside the place began to flow more thinly now, then slow…
Although a single car (once there were three) still stood out in the snow.
The auto vanished too, replaced there by a box placed there by PODS
The mobile storage folk, to hold, perhaps, the last few residues
Of once rich harvesters of higher revenues now rent apart
Who knows, nasty divorce? or the worst auto sales since before
The day that Ford began to build the Model-T in old Detroit?

And that was later.

The other day, the sale sign gone, the vegetation taking charge,
The pod departed and no trace of life, I dared to stray beyond
The fence into the mansion’s unkempt grounds whence no longer
Veiled by bush or tree, I now could see the house abandoned to the
Birds, the mouse. And there I glimpsed through broken glass interiors left
To the past—torn bits of carpeting, a half-demolished desk-like
Thing, a fallen plastic jar that, rolling, had disgorged a wreath
Of sorts onto the naked floor. Another look revealed yet more
Unsightly scars, not least the plywood sheets that had replaced the
Windows raiding boys, presumably, had earlier destroyed and,
Running off, had left behind. “Alas, this house’s gone south,” I thought and
Shook my head, troubled in mind but homeward bound to eat my daily bread.


  1. Goodness, you've been busy.
    This poem is lovely.
    I'll read on....

  2. I am teaching poetry this month (of course) and will certainly share this. Voice, tone, point of view...Be well!

  3. Thanks for your comment. I hope your students will get something out of it -- one or two surely will, as I remember things.


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