Thursday, November 30, 2006

The walls have words

Ok, this one already felt like cheating, given that I've been writing about 'home' all year. We've been told several stories about the previous inhabitants of our villa, but I've never felt like the house itself has ever given up any of its secrets. Without our neighbours this house would have no history, hence my sense of it being 'pure'.

If These Walls Could Talk

If these walls could talk
I would know about
the butcher who
built this cottage
two years before the war.
They would speak
of the old woman who
hated Presbyterians and
who died bitter and
alone other than the
company of her
idle son.
They would tell me
who it was that stashed
empty beer cans and
bottles at the bottom
of the garden,
who left nails sticking out
all around the house.
They would talk about
the whale skeleton that
once hung in the hallway,
the back door that was
once the front.
They would remember fondly
the English woman who
installed central heating,
a new kitchen, breathed
life into aging crossbeams.They would tell us
who it was that cleansed
this place so that
when we walked in
there was nothing to
trouble us,
only the welcome
of clear air and
a sense of home.

More writers with their ears pressed up against walls here.


Catherine said...

That sounds like an interesting house - and it must have a large hallway to fit a whale skeleton.

Poet with a Day Job said...

This is a very beautiful poem. And I have to say, I really love the title of your blog.

ren.kat said...

the woman who hated. . .

so many great details that lead the imagination to flesh out.

Pip said...

Yes, our neighbours tell us we've had crazy old ladies and strange men who hang skeletons from ceilings living in our house in the past. It seems to have collected a few characters in its time. She's 93 now, and I've told her we'll stay for her 100th birthday, so hopefully we'll make our own impression on her before we leave.

Bice Sagan said...

I love when writers describe the history of a house. I think about those histories every time I see an interesting or abandoned house.

Thanks for sharing your houses history with all of us.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Oh this is exactly what I'd like to hear from the walls of our home!