Treasure Island

Christopher Apfelbach

(July 1,1990 / Burlington, VT)

On Greetings


The way to greet an old house
is not to look but to listen—
because only time will tell
whether the walls of a house

caged or sheltered its occupants,
dampened or resonated; and houses,
especially in the height of youth,
are all too conscious of themselves,

breathing as a Barbie would, shallow,
plastic, corseted, terrified of exclaiming
too loudly in case you pass them up.
Catch them in distress, of course—

in the midst of a summer storm,
when wind keens under the eaves
and petals of lightning bloom around the chimney—
and they forget their manners, briefly.

Old houses, by contrast, are always honest
about the sag sloping through the boards,
and they'll happily creak and groan
to tell you so; but since they might

take offense if you scrutinized too closely
the doorframes full of warps and paunches,
the way to make an old house's acquaintance
is not by gawking about but by listening.

And I am telling you this on a grey day
because it is important that you know:
my grandfather died only weeks ago,
and as I watched age overtake him

like a runaway dog breaking past
a man who thought himself master,
the words that had flown wild
from his mouth when he was young

and the house still quiet fell away—
and I did not understand in time
that he needed me to listen,
not to him but to that old house,

to which he had bequeathed his voice,
translating the empty rooms of breath
and the homecomings of memory
as he lay awaiting the last visitor.

Submitted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Listen to this poem:

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (On Greetings by Christopher Apfelbach )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. A pair of eyes, Cigeng Zhang
  2. Dying In The Truth, Dexsta Ray
  3. The Purple Ant, Bhargabi Dei Mahakul
  4. Just For Me, Elia Michael
  5. A Sad Bird, Rohit Sapra
  6. we are a perfect promenade, Mandolyn ...
  7. When Love Opened The Door, Lora Colon
  8. Bounty of giving, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
  9. Love is a Liquid ~~~ vs.50, Monk E. Biz
  10. The hunter's trap شرك الصياد - للشاعر ال.., MOHAMMAD SKATI

Poem of the Day

poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When the hours of Day are numbered,
And the voices of the Night
Wake the better soul, that slumbered,
To a holy, calm delight;

Ere the evening lamps are lighted,
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

 

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  4. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  5. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  6. As Soon as Fred Gets Out of Bed, Jack Prelutsky
  7. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  8. The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  10. Invictus, William Ernest Henley

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]