Guest Poet C.Lawry Brown

My Old House

Built before Grant ever knew Lee.
Its towering three stories
telling ancestors tales
by the light of kerosene
and the warmth of wood.

Before Grant came to visit,
It was severed in twain
like separated twins.
Half remained while the other
sailed by barge to new shores.

Its stories plaited with lead,
unstacked and restacked.
Reborn a fraction of its former.
Planted on a new foundation
its cistern of live blood alive.

Perched on a pedestal hill
protected by maple towers.
Its huge veranda teeth smiled
as musician, author, politician,
were swallowed by its doors.

Far above its rectangular eyes
canvassed spruce and blue water.
There was an air of lateness, retracing
memories and journeys, searching skeleton
origins, connecting again.

June, 1999

C.Lawry Brown's Questions:

Does the inserting on the names do enough to show the age of the house?

  Is the meaning of the poem clear?

  Does the "severed in twain" say enough that this house was torn in half and moved?

  Does the veranda teeth smiling and those being swallowed show the importance of the house?

I welcome your comments on this poem and my questions.  I am open to suggestions to make it clearer if I have not answered the questions above. Thank You!!!!

The Albany Poetry Workshop