Looking Back (Concentration 5)

3

June 12, 2014 by mamie

Concentration5c

 

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.

 

THE HOUSE WITH NOBODY IN IT by Joyce Kilmer

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.

 

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3 thoughts on “Looking Back (Concentration 5)

  1. Mary says:

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

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