The Old House

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The Old House

This tumble-down old house spoke to me
In the dark,
As I lay sleepless in my bed,
Listening to the silence.
Through the cracks in the windows and doors
Whistled the weeping of ghosts
Of generations of great-grandparents
And aunts and uncles
Who died in the bed where I lay.
Across the floor-boards
And up and down the stairs
The phantoms of white children played,
Their footsteps rattling the shattered panes.

Outside, a dog barked through the night
As a coach drew up beside the iron gate,
And the leaves whispered nervously,
Messengers to those that cannot see.

I shivered in my pale night-gown
As yellow photos and faded portraits of ancestors
Smiled thinly at me from the walls.
A door banged in the hall below
And the old grandfather clock struck midnight,
And something cold ran down my spine
As I tried to think of sunlight
And laughing faces of friends.
The silence ran around the room,
Shattering like broken glass
Each time my ears heard a noise
That didn’t exist.

Day dawned grey and wet,
As I looked round the purple room,
The pictures of deceased people,
The old house seemed quite ordinary.
I opened the heavy curtains,
And the nip in the air was friendly
And quiet.
But
When I went to bed again that night
I could feel all around me
The spirits,
The ghosts and phantoms of beings
Who died long ago..

(1975)

Catherine Broughton is a novelist, artist and a poet.  Her books are on Amazon and Kindle or can be ordered from most leading bookstores and libraries.  More about Catherine Broughton on localhost/tm

Click here for “The Lover”   (poem)

Posted on 21/06/2012 by Catherine
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