This was our house.
Now it is mine alone.
It is a good house, warm, with lovely bones
and flowers all around.  But
it is oddly empty now, and also full
of too much memory.  The past
crowds in like those loud crows I hear
competing for the roadkill down the street.

Archive of disappearing dreams, defeat,
silenced laughter, unsat chairs,
old discs nobody wants to play,
books likely to remain unread and
many, many papers I must shred—
like any good museum it requires
maintenance, archival care.  But
time has worked its own perverse repair:

what was once so dear and so familiar
has been slowly turning strange.
A kind of mercy has arranged it so
love is no longer of this house.
Has love grown lesser?  No.
It has grown lighter and more
portable.  It lives and moves wherever
heart and mind may chance to go.

9 responses »

  1. Cynthia, this is such a beautifully written poem with depth of feeling you passed so easily through me. I felt it as I read.

    Your life observations are so accessible even though written From a very personal point of view.I have said it before that some of your writings remind me so much of Mary Oliver. 🙂

  2. I have read this several times now, Cynthia – sometimes seeing the house and its contents, sometimes aware of the loss, at other times hearing the sound of the words, or thinking about your metaphors, or how carefully you introduce us to your conclusion – and I can tell it is one of your poems that I shall come back to from time to time.

  3. And as we look back, we hear snatches of our dreams, the promises held so dearly. Anything and everything was possible – back then. Where did it all go – time, you relentless thief. How did it get here? Echoes of my life – both lived and, dreamt but not realised.

    Oh you melancholic companion – so terrible in your loneliness and yet, I’m greatful for this bitter sweet existence. It’s been a good life – all told.

    And so truly you captured it – so empty of life but full of memories. And portable now – treasures of my mind and heart.

    Happy are those who went before us, for we treasure their memories. Who will treasure mine —-

    So sad, Cynthia – I felt sad, reading this poem. Perhaps it was not your intention, but that’s how it sang to me.

    Peace and blessings my dear,

  4. Dear Eric—Your comment is its own kind of poem, and a poem of sadness, too. After nearly three years of wrestling with The First Noble Truth—indulging it, denying it rationalizing it and then, with almost childlike curiosity, just looking at it and watching it operate in myself, sadness has become a friend….we can even have a good laugh together; we are opened; we can leave the house. That is Time’s “perverse repair.”
    Last week I made an offer to a real estate agent to buy a small house in the foothills of the White Mountains where I grew up. ( I left there at age 18 for the big city, promising myself never to return). Mine was such a lowball bid on the house I figured it would be rejected…..but it was accepted. That’s when I wrote the poem above…I suddenly realized something about memory: it can be a good or a not so good companion. We need it, of course, to keep track of the car keys and such, but we don’t need it for wallowing in the past or for letting baggage—cultural or experiential—weigh us down. We can travel light and move gracefully carrying all we have ever loved within.
    So yes, it is sad, and your comment brought a tear to my eye, but I will be moving to a real-er estate in the next couple of months and am smiling about that. I hope as you read this you are smiling too. And thank you, my dear, for your poem.

  5. lovely piece, Cynthia – sad in general – but I do like (in spite of the sadness) the idea of love becoming more portable, as if it no longer is tied to place or objects

    • I’m glad you like that idea, Sarah—hard-won, but I like it too. Thank you for visiting and for your nice comment.
      P.S.I still savor the poems in your chapbook….especially fond of “lake-hearted”…….

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