The House with Nobody in it
Whenever 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.
~ Joyce Kilmer
Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) was an American journalist, poet, literary critic, lecturer, and editor. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith, Kilmer is remembered most for a short poem entitled “Trees”. (1913)
Last night we had a conversation about looking back ... spending too much time looking back. Yesterday it hit me I have to start a new life, I can't go back to the way things used to be here. Things are different and I can't start over where I left off, it's not possible. Clint says he has been giving a lot of thought recently to not spend much time on looking back but living in the present and facing the future. One subject he brought up was old friendships. I know we have written about this before. Yesterday I drove around, looking for some furniture, and came back home feeling lost. I was in my hometown and things just didn't feel the same. For heaven's sake, they aren't the same! I stopped by an old well known store and for the first time in my life, I did not know a soul in the store or run into anyone I knew.
I know I am rambling on here. We are very happy here and are excited about the future. Clint has joined a fitness center and has started working out again. I am anxious to start doing some oil paintings, I don't have much experience painting in oil. My goal is to paint a large oil painting of the Smoky Mountains to hang over our mantle.
The last time in our Texas house, I did look back. The last few minutes there, as I said good bye to the house, I shot these pictures. I couldn't help it. Seriously, I am going to make an effort to realize I can't go back and not spend too much time looking back. We all remember the fate of one particular woman who looked back ...
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not but rather find strength in what remains behind.