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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the POETRY genre (05/17/07)

TITLE: Home and Family
By Marlene Bonney
05/21/07


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Deserted house so forlorn,
Stark against the sky;
Weather-beaten, windowless,
Holey roof, awry.

A lonely, knobby dirt road
From a distant past
Peeks through now untrampled sod
Amid sassafras.

How many times I’ve passed by
With only a glance!
Yet, today I felt the call
To embrace this chance.

Deserted house so forlorn,
Stark against the sky;
Weather-beaten, windowless,
Holey roof, awry.

A weed-infested necklace
Of grass hugs the walls,
Hiding ancient wooden steps
Bereft of footfalls.

I wanted to examine
This secluded scene.
It drew me to its presence,
Haunting me in dreams.

Who lived, died here, long ago?
Who played and cried here?
How many loved and cherished,
Staying months, or years?

I can picture pioneers
Once taming this land.
A family of eight, living
Days as sifting sand?

Deserted house so forlorn,
Stark against the sky;
Weather-beaten, windowless,
Holey roof, awry.

Mounting the sun-bleached old porch
I linger a bit
Imagining rocking chairs
Nodding as they sit.

I enter with bated breath
And unleashed desire
This pane-less shell of past days,
Still and retired.

A barren old maple tree
Scratches across eaves;
Startled, I nervously jump,
Then laugh, now relieved.

Softly wafting from my breeze
Musty cobwebs swing,
Whispering of memories
Intricately stringed.

Slowly I take a full tour,
this soul-less corpse peeled
Back to reveal its secrets,
Past veneer no shield.

A strip of wall newspaper,
A rusty outdated dime,
A dirty, wadded towel
And, everywhere, grime.

A dreary broken washtub,
Empty nails on walls,
Tattered, colorless curtains,
An old rubber ball.

Proof of critters old and new
Litter the wood floors,
Along with dead leaves and twigs
Blown against a door.

Deserted house so forlorn,
Stark against the sky;
Weather-beaten, windowless,
Holey roof, awry.

As I turn to leave, I catch
Sight of faint penciled lines
Crawling up a fading wall,
Oddly intertwined.

Next to each line was a name
With a date and height:
Pa, Ma, George, Bill and Suzy,
Ed, James, Matt—and Stu was ninth.

At the rim of the baseboard
Obscure and pale
Another label appeared:
“Stillborn”, and then, “Male”.

“So there were ten”, I marvel,
Ten in this small space.
Notwithstanding, love was here,
Caressing this place.

The sun in the west dipped down
Wrapping its twilight
In God’s radiant blessing
On this scenic site.

I knew then I would return
To make my home here,
Renewing its legacy
With laughter and tears.

Rescued house fondly reborn,
Bright against the sky;
Newly painted, windows clear,
Repaired roof, all dry.


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This article has been read 529 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Julie Arduini05/24/07
I felt like I was on a tour of this home and the history involved. So well described and emotional. Very well done!
Jacquelyn Horne05/25/07
You pictured the old house well. Glad to see you coming to its rescue.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/26/07
Loved the imagery here, the history of the house, and its renewal!
Rhonda Clark 05/27/07
Wonderful description. Very easy read.
Benjamin Graber05/29/07
I liked the progression through this poem. That ending made a neat contrast to the rest of the poem.