Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Morning Poetry

      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.
      ~ Joyce Kilmer

"The House with Nobody in It" was originally published in Trees and Other Poems by Joyce Kilmer in 1914. I first heard this poem quoted on an episode of The Waltons called The Literary Man. As a child I watched this show once or twice and was bored by it. Consequently, I never really gave it a chance. We started watching the show when we began looking for movies that are appropriate for our family. I have completely fallen in love. I haven't watched an episode yet that didn't make me tear up.


Kim Living Life said...

Oh Relyn, what an amazing poem. I just want to find this lonely abandoned home. What a beautiful tale of life, love and endings

Mrs. E said...

What a beautiful poem. It reminds me of something my grandmother always said when drove by an abandoned house-- "Someone was happy there once."

Jeanne said...

Fabulous it reminded me of my Grandma and Mom's house where they lived for years and I grew up
After Mom died Grandma had to move out to be cared for and everytime I went by I could feel the broken heart of our former homestead.
May all hearts and homes be full of love and happiness and people to love them♥

Heart2Heart said...


I love this picture of this old house and you are right, if you had to pick a picture of a house that looks haunted, this would be it.

How different the house would look if like you said, it had homeowners who could see the potential of what it could be and bring it back to life.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Jessica said...

Oh, I love the Waltons! Lovely, lovely, lovely. I hope you had a wonderful Sunday!

S. Etole said...

such a poignant photo and poem ...

cinner said...

Relyn thank you so much for sharing with us. That is exactly how I feel about old Homes and buildings, if only the walls could talk. take care, a beautiful photo. Have a great day.

Sarah said...

That is a beautiful poem Relyn. I used to go past a house like that, years ago when I lived in Leicester. It was a beautiful house and had obviously had a good life. The old lady still living there finally died and it gradually became more and more unloved. Very sad.

elizabeth said...

A couple of years ago, we went to see two houses that we lived in for maybe a year or so. (We moved from one to the other.) It was so sad to see the state of disrepair they were in. You have to wonder if they'd rather be broken down and turned into something new - rather than standing there abandoned and lonely.

Rita said...

When I see an old abandoned house like this, I often wonder of all the tales that it could tell if it could only talk. I wonder what happened inside of it's walls. Great post!

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

Hello my dear! I don't remember hearing this on The Waltons but I LOVED the show and watched it every chance I got. I didn't realize you could rent it and still watch it. I've always wondered why it wasn't rerun on tv! I so wish they'd bring some of the old stuff back.
Thanks for sharing this lovely poem and for inspiring me to get some old Waltons!

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

It is sad, a house that has birthed many, watched many celebrations and mourned the passing of those it sheltered. Quite an evocative poem!

Elyse said...

This seems like the perfect poem to be on The Waltons. Oh, we enjoy them at our home occasionally, but we never truly watched all of them. I feel guilty, because they really are quite wonderful stories.

Oldies, but Goodies