Issue Five

Autumn 2012

 

On a history of houses


First, you must listen
as they waken, the creak
and groan of old pipes,
the slow stretch of joists.
Listen to pigeons squabbling
on the roof as a cat
pads softly from room to room.

These rituals repeat in houses
that are home to the living,
each day rhyming to the order
of hours. The universe
slowly turning, the sky opening
to light from imperceptible stars.

But, in those houses that have fallen
to the stewardship of ghosts,
what essence is left in settled dust,
in the silence. What element
of heart and voice and touch
remains in the bare walls
of rooms that will change shape

as dusk comes on, and no one is there 
to witness the pull of tides,
how the moon throws a pale light
over the garden so the shadows
of the tall trees become absences,
the intimate pauses between words.

__________________________

James Caruth

 

 

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