Demolition Poem by Seamus O' Brian


They're demolishing that old Queen Ann,
the one with the porch that wraps around
from one forgotten conversation to the other,
where the rocking chairs tilted in the breeze;
shifted slightly toward the river three houses down,
to catch the site of clapping white sails and gulls
careening around the homebound shrimpers.

A white-columned porch, once a refuge
from the strangled clutch of summer's heat
where cooling twilight breezes would cup
the laughter and murmured voices of a day's
work well done; neighbors sharing a falling star's
wish and the optimism of autumn's horizon.

If I were there I'd cringe at each tearing sound
of pinewood floor splintering memories,
for my own hand learned its first touch
of finely sanding heartpine on those ancient beams;
my cheek still remembers the coolness, rested
against the varnish reflecting the breath-held
wonder of a child's first tottering steps.

The silence of a couple surveying a fireplace refinished,
a head nestled in the crook of a neck
like life comfortable in the embrace
of its own future. The silence of a dog
who no longer barks, the laughter of a child
no longer chasing balloons down stone-paved
sidewalks straight to the river, three houses down
from the place she once called home.

The white-columned porch is dumpstered now,
but there's no one there to witness the drama
because the story now is not their own,
and two hundred years have haunted her,
specters of laughter and sorrow, anguish and joy,
ghosts wandering so many hearts now silent,
beneath the oaks and stones
across the river's silent coursing waves.

They're demolishing that old Queen Ann,
but its foundation is laid forever
in the memory of my days on Lancaster Street,
three houses down from the river, where
the gulls careened and the white sails clapped
and so much of my life first found its footing.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Topic(s) of this poem: family,house,life,memory
Captain Cur 05 August 2017

The familiarity of that old Queen Ann rekindles memories of our childhood homes and neighborhoods that the ravages of time and change have stolen but lives on in these excellently crafted and profound.words.

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Seamus O Brian 06 August 2017

Ahh...yes, good Captain, the restless, insatiable jaws of time consuming everything eventually, even our memory and then our selves. A toast, though, before we go, to lives well-lived, women well-loved, and poems well-written. :) S

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