Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Deserted House

The old house stands deserted, gray,
With sharpened gables high in air,
And deep-set lattices, all gay
With massive arch and framework rare;
And o'er it is a silence laid,
That feeling, one grows sore afraid


Old House, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia
Old House, Harper's Ferry, West Virginia

The eaves are dark with heavy vines;
The steep roof wears a coat of moss;
the walls are touched with dim designs
Of shadows moving slow across;
The balconies are damp with weeds,
Lifting as close as stream side reeds.

The garden is a loved retreat
Of melancholy flowers, of lone
And wild-mouthed herbs, in companies sweet,
'Mid desolate green grasses thrown;
And in its gaps the hoar stone wall
Lets sprays of tangled ivy fall.

Moss-Covered Stone Steps Through Shady Overgrown Garden, Autumn Sherborne Garden, Somerset by Mark Bolton
Moss-Covered Stone Steps Through Shady Overgrown Garden, Autumn Sherborne Garden, Somerset

The pebbled paths drag, here and there,
Old lichened faces, ove spun
With silver spider-threads--they wear
A silence sad to look upon:
It is so long since happy feet
Made them to thrill with pressure sweet.

'Mid drear but fragrant shrubs there stands
A saint of old made mute in stone,
With tender eyes and yearning hands,
And mouth formed in a sorrow lone;
'Tis thick with dust, as long ago
'Twas thick with fairest blooms that grow.
Statue of Lovers Amongst Hedera Helix (Ivy) Old Chalk Pit by Sunniva Harte
Statue of Lovers Amongst Hedera Helix (Ivy) Old Chalk Pit

Swallows are whirring here and there;
And oft a little soft wind blows
A hundred odors down the air;
The bees hum 'round the red, last rose
And ceaselessly the crickets shrill
their tunes, and yet, it seems so still.
Rose Bank by David Coolidge
Rose Bank

Or else, from out the distance steals,
Half heard, the tramp of horses, or
The bleak and harsh stir of slow wheels
Bound cityward; but more and more,
As these are hushed or yet increase,
About the old house clings its peace.
Lizette Woodworth Reese (1874-1887)


Lizette Woodworth Reese, daughter of a Welsh father and German mother, was born January 9, 1856, in Waverly, Maryland, two miles from Baltimore. Until age seventeen, Reese attended the Baltimore public schools and acquired an appreciation for Herrick, the Brownings, Emily Bronte, Poe, and Whittier. After graduating from high school in 1873, she embarked on a forty- five year career of teaching and poetry writing. Reese published her first poem, "The Deserted house," in Southern Magazine (1874) and contributed to the New Republic, Harper's Bazaar, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Poetry.

Nature, love, memory, and mutability prove constant themes in Reese's work. "The Deserted house" describes the passage of a rural way of life .

Critics have been encouraged to re-examine her as one of the stronger poetic voices of her generation--lost for awhile but not forgotten.

Brittany and Bridget..........your literature lesson for today,
Love, Mimi

7 comments:

Me said...

Old homes are so compelling - the stories...

Jodi said...

Oh, I loved this poem .. especially with the pics you put with it. You know I think we used to live near that house in Maine - lol.

Lisa said...

Beautiful pictures to go with beautiful words.

Mary Isabella said...

That is a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing it my sweet friend....Mary

Sharon said...

I LOVED this post!!~Sharon G.

Hailey's Beats and Bits said...

hi mimi this is for you: http://brainbitsandbeats.blogspot.com/2008/08/konichiwa-meme.html

Margaret Cloud said...

I wouldn't mind wandering up the steps and down the path, this post is lovely, thanks for sharing it with us.