Looking Back (Concentration 5)


June 12, 2014 by mamie



Completed Date: 2/26/14

Medium: Prismacolor, soft pastel

Description: While driving along the roads of a little country town, my eyes were drawn to this overgrown house because around it were new, well-kept, and nice-looking stores and churches but the abandoned house lay in a trench filled with weeds and dead leaves. The contrast was definitely obvious.

This light blue house could have once been welcoming and friendly with boxes of flowers in its windows, but now, it looked so dreadful, mournful, and flat-out creepy. For this reason, I chose Joyce Kilmer’s poem “The House with Nobody in It,” which I found in one of my favorite poetry books that by grandmother gave me. I love this poem because it is sad and quirky at the same time. Some of my favorite phrases are “it wouldn’t be so lonely if it had a ghost or two,” “the lack of something within it that it has never known,” “sheltered life,” “echoed a baby’s laugh,” and “house with a broken heart.” (Also, just as a side note, both the house and the poem remind me of one of my favorite books as a child, The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, about the friendly house who becomes run down as a loud and bustling city grows around it.) Anyway, below is Kilmer’s poem.



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.



3 thoughts on “Looking Back (Concentration 5)

  1. Mary says:

    Lovely painting Mamie, poem is perfect for the little abandoned house.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Artwork on Etsy!

Pieces of original artwork, prints, and custom journals with sewn covers are now available on Etsy for a great prices! The bright drawings and paintings make wonderful gifts and decorations.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Recent Posts

Life Legacies

Mrs. Brenda Hotard: The Way Back to Dance Through Tatiana Dakoudovska

An Incredible Story of a Life Devoted to Dance and So Much More    THE WAY BACK TO DANCE THROUGH TATIANA DOKOUDOVSKA   This time, everything was going my way in Leavenworth, Kansas. My husband had risen in rank and experience and was delighted with his new position as Chief Executive Officer of the installation. Our […]

%d bloggers like this: