Tangled in Stars

Poems by
Ethelwyn Wetherald



 

THE DESERTED HOUSE



With sagging door and staring window-place,
    And sunken roof, it stands among its trees,
Befriended by the boughs that interlace
    Between it and the light ghost-footed breeze.

Poor human nest, how desolately torn!

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    Yet in these ragged rooms young children slept,
And on this floor, all broken and forlorn,
    The baby with the sunshine daily crept.

See where some older “Ruth” and “Archie” stood
    And marked their names a yard space from the ground.

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That little height where all of sweet and good
    Within the narrow plot of home is found.

Such tiny sleeping rooms, with space for naught
    Except a place to dress, a place to dream,
A book, a little shelf, a good night thought,

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    A childish treasure brought from field or stream.

Upon this curbstone, picking bit by bit
    The grass that grew before the cottage door,
The blessed baby sat, examining it
    As one who ne’er had seen its like before.

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Here by the window in her willow chair,
    The mother sewed and sang a low refrain.
Are those the patches from her piece-bag there?
    Nay, they are leaves that blew in with the rain! [Page 42]

The leaves blow in, the moss is on the roof,

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    The squirrels bring their treasures from the boughs,
The storm comes, and with dull unhastening hoof,
    Into this partial shelter stray the cows.

Ah, come away! Some woman’s youth lies here,
    Some man’s fair childhood, dead but wondrous sweet,

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Some heart this cot has sheltered holds it dear,
    And fills it with old loves and joys complete.

What right have we to pry or speculate?
    The sun goes down, the twilight, like a pall,
Encloseth ruined house and porch and gate,

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    And tender darkness broodeth over all. [Page 43]