Monday, 5 April 2010

weatherboard home

As well as Monday's NaPoWriMo entry, this is also my Tuesday Poem - go HERE to Mary McCallum's blog for amazing poetry & links to more. Please consider posting poems yourself for this new Poetry Site.

Another house poem - one that yelled out to be written after yesterday's visit to Robert's grandparent's old home full of history, memories and stories. I think this is just one of a few more poems yet to be written about this dear, wee home ...

weatherboard home

It concentrates, this house,
straining with the effort
to remember
it once had a green roof
and a garden full of pink phlox.
It's my mother-in-law's
childhood home
and she remembers the tin
sheet hammered over
the window-frame
after the glass broke,
how the wind howled through it.

Three owners and seventy-
something years later,
on a day stoked with autumn,
we are able to look through.
She examines the hot-water
cylinder in its cupboard,
the corner wardrobe,
its sweet, old, metal catch.
"It's just the same.
Pop would hang his coats
on that very peg."
The owner's fox terrier
snuffles and whines
at the smell of mice
behind the skirting boards.

Outside, the persistent view
of rocks, hills, tussock, lake
and the pear tree still there
with its back to us, huge
and self-important.
The owner tells us
of how when they first looked
at the house (now used
just as a holiday hut)
it was on a bitter, snowy day,
an open fire sputtering
with only two sticks for fuel,

the man and woman
desperate to sell, shivering
with the disappointment
of dead strawberry plants
sent down from Auckland.
"He sat at the table,
right there", she says
pointing to its shadow,
"eating weetbix with gravy".

Kay McKenzie Cooke


leonie.wise said...

this one takes me back to memories of my great uncle's place. it's long gone now... bulldozed years ago to make way for new places. but i loved going there, to his ramshackle place that always smelled of fresh flowers


herhimnbryn said...

You made me see.....

Claire Beynon said...

"It concentrates, this house... "


A said...

Love the house, love the poem :-)

Kay Cooke said...

leonie - Thanks so much - it is a very New Zealand story isn't it? (I can't help myself ...)

Herhimnbryn - That's so cool! Your work makes me see too so I've merely returned the favour!

Claire - Thanks - from a poet such as yourself, that's a high compliment.

Agnes - Thank you! :)

Mary McCallum said...

love these especially: 'the garden full of pink phlox', 'the sweet, old, metal catch' and the 'weetbix with gravy' - they caught in my throat - lovely poem

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

So many great images: brain candy! -- the peg the coat used to hang on, the shadow of the table, etc etc

Anonymous said...

You've really brought the house to life, beautiful work.

Pen said...

Eeew, weetbix with gravy. Strong images here, Kay. You've been working! Where is this house, backed by that hill steeper than the roof-slope?

Kay Cooke said...

Mary - Thanks so much. :)

Joyce - Thank you - I could write a dozen poems about this visit to my m-i-l's 'childhood home'.

Joannejohns - Thanks for your visit and kind comment.

Pen - It's Kingston - the house hugs the hills to the left as you're heading south past the town.

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