Gardens to Gables

The House is Shut and Still

Spring oozes poetry. Jonquils and crocus burst from the previously frozen ground, the spring sky (when not gray and rainy) transcends the color blue, and picture-perfect lambs and calves cavort – all these stock metaphors of the season inspired someone, somewhere, to verse.


And although I feel winter’s gloom has stretched on for immeasurably too long, and can’t get enough of the March sunshine, spring presents a cacophonous, and sometimes very sad, visage to me. All the riot of new life and growth must have its counterpart – this is something you learn at a very young age living on a farm.


Before the thick vegetation of summer extends over the landscapes, the backdrop of spring unveils all manner of forgotten lives and history. Winter and spring are the best times for exploration, as the trees frame rather than obscure the roof lines of of slowly fading buildings, and those same bright faced flowers announce to the rambler that a former homestead site is close at hand.


All of this experiential poetry is occasionally captured, by people far more skilled than I.  Edwin Arlington Robinson, a traditionalist at a time when many American poets were pushing the bounds of verse, won the Pulitzer Prize three times in the 1920s, and though judged as dour and lugubrious by many at the time, imparts a quiet sense of being that I see as neither gloomy nor overly sunny – but contemplative and open to the mysteries of the world.

The House on the Hill

They are all gone away,
The house is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one today
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away.

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One Thought on “The House is Shut and Still

  1. J. Eric Thomason on April 8, 2015 at 1:11 pm said:

    Very beautiful written and bittersweet.

Post Navigation