The Old House Blues
The furniture’s ancient and
horribly mangled. The curtains:
windblown, and hopelessly tangled.
Kitchen dishes discarded,
in shattered decay while the food’s done the same,
in a fuzzier way.
The wallpaper is peeling, the rugs are a mess,
pilfered by mice to feather their nests.
There’s some soul in it yet,
and good bones, good bones,
a foundation made of solid stones.
It sighs and it creaks
from the weight of the roof,
but it hasn’t leaked yet so
there lies the proof.
The beams and joists
(so far) stand firm.
No, it hasn’t given yet
to termite or worm.
The woodwork is walnut, mahogany, oak;
it stands up bravely under the yoke
of crumbling plaster and
moldering brick, of dust
that is laying two inches thick.
The porch kind of sags—
no surprise that it should—
for out here is made of a much softer wood.
The boards are of pine, and
—isn’t it grand?
how—despite the weather
it continues to stand.
The façade, it is true,
has seen better days. Now it’s faded
and chipped by the sun’s piercing rays.
The siding is warping, the windows are black.
This house has good bones
but the skin is all cracked.
Instead of a lawn, a dustbowl
holds sway; dirt barren and crumbly
or hard-packed dry clay.
Out back, ‘round the house, at the end of the yard
are a springhouse and well
that, silent, stand guard.
And the wind through the eaves sings the saddest of blues:
Of a house with good bones,
and longs years of disuse.
I originally wrote this in 2013, in the notebook I carried with me everywhere. That same notebook has the first fitful pages of the first novel I wrote. It also contains a few bits and pieces I can go back to and glean for future projects. I have a new notebook, full of new ideas, but this was worth coming back to visit and typing up. Enjoy 🙂