Poets corner: The Old House At The End Of My Street

Poets corner: The Old House At The End Of My Street

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

the east.

Since childhood I had watched it brave the fiercest of

storms,

always steadfast in its gift of shelter, safety and

warmth.

Oh, it was a graceful old place that recently conveyed

to me

a deep sadness with its emptiness, since having lost

its family.

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

seed

And workers no longer came to trim its stately birch

trees.

The graceful curving walkway that was once edged so

neatly,

was soon overrun with brambles and hidden

completely.

Its corner and trim boards seemed unable to hold any

paint.

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

outwards.

Each of its doors and windows were no longer square

but askew.

and there was just nothing about the place that you

could call new.

And I suspected that its graceful roof had probably

leaked,

and that some of its once sturdy bones had finally

grown weak.

But, despite its age, it had stood there with dignity and

grace,

a landmark that by its presence affirmed our sense of

place.

Until yesterday when a condemned sign had been

nailed to its door

announcing that now there was just no one who cared

anymore.

And while I had never come to know who had owned

that place

I tried to imagine the family that had once filled that

space,

and to hear the children’s laughter that had echoed in

its halls

with Christmases in December and Thanksgivings in

fall.

But bulldozers and trucks rumbled up to the old house

today

and battered and tore its broken heart out, and hauled

it away.

And now its lot is empty and sparse, and will soon go

to weeds

to lie fallow and to wait to serve another master’s

needs

And I wonder if that family knows what’s happened to

the place

where they raised their children and their memories

were made.

And I realize that most probably they are not even

aware

that the old house at the end of my street is no longer

there.

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 dan@indianhillpress.com.

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