Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The House With Nobody In It

by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
      HENEVER I walk to Suffern along the Erie track
      I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black.
      I suppose I've passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute
      And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it.
      I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things;
      That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings.
      I know this house isn't haunted, and I wish it were, I do;
      For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.
      This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass,
      And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass.
      It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied;
      But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside.
      If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid
      I'd put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade.
      I'd buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be
      And I'd find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.
      Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door,
      Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store.
      But there's nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone
      For the lack of something within it that it has never known.
      But a house that has done what a house should do, a house that has sheltered life,
      That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
      A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up his stumbling feet,
      Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.
      So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track
      I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back,
      Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart,
      For I can't help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.

"The House with Nobody in It" was originally published in Trees and Other Poems. Joyce Kilmer. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1914.

A special thank you to my dear friend Ellie Mae at 'Over Good Ground' for pointing me in the direction of this poem. I wasn't quite ready to walk away from yesterday's post and this poem seemed to be what I needed to finalize it. You Know me so well, my friend.

May God hold you in the palm of His hand. 


Lib said...

What a sweet post!
So often we live from day to day in our Homes and take so much for Granted!

Kate said...

Hi Jo - What a beautiful poem and what memories it evokes - memories of the past and of folk long gone. Some sad ones but happy ones too.
Blessings Jo - Love Kate xx.
btw. I love your blog backgrounds of the old style ladies they are really lovely.

PEA said...

Such a wonderful poem and I really liked the part where she wishes it was haunted as at least the house would have ghosts in it to keep it from being lonely:-) Any time I see abandoned houses like that, I always wonder who lived in it and what their life was like. Every abandoned house was once a home and it is indeed sad to see them crumbling and alone. xoxo

ancient one said...

I like old deserted houses too...I try to get pictures of a lot of them.. They don't last too long in my neck of the woods. The Fire Departments burn them to train the newest members. I really liked the poem!!!