There was a lovely old house at the end of my street.
On the bluff it had been built to greet the rising sun in
Since childhood I had watched it brave the fiercest of
always steadfast in its gift of shelter, safety and
Oh, it was a graceful old place that recently conveyed
a deep sadness with its emptiness, since having lost
The mother, father and children had just up and
moved one day
and left the old place vacant and to just wear away.
Soon, without weekly mowing its rolling lawns went to
And workers no longer came to trim its stately birch
The graceful curving walkway that was once edged so
was soon overrun with brambles and hidden
Its corner and trim boards seemed unable to hold any
and they peeled and they cracked whenever it rained,
Its shingles had all split and warped sharply upward
and its shutters were tattered, tilting inwards and
Each of its doors and windows were no longer square
and there was just nothing about the place that you
could call new.
And I suspected that its graceful roof had probably
and that some of its once sturdy bones had finally
But, despite its age, it had stood there with dignity and
a landmark that by its presence affirmed our sense of
Until yesterday when a condemned sign had been
nailed to its door
announcing that now there was just no one who cared
And while I had never come to know who had owned
I tried to imagine the family that had once filled that
and to hear the children’s laughter that had echoed in
with Christmases in December and Thanksgivings in
But bulldozers and trucks rumbled up to the old house
and battered and tore its broken heart out, and hauled
And now its lot is empty and sparse, and will soon go
to lie fallow and to wait to serve another master’s
And I wonder if that family knows what’s happened to
where they raised their children and their memories
And I realize that most probably they are not even
that the old house at the end of my street is no longer
Douglas Cann is a retired architect. He and his wife had a vacation home on the Vineyard for 35 years and are currently making the transition to living here full time.
The Martha’s Vineyard Times welcomes contributions to Poet’s Corner. Dan Waters, former poet laureate of West Tisbury, will select poems to be published here. Submissions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.