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THE HOUSE
 
Almost like a shrine, it stood,
A house of elegance and class,
Older than a century,
A valued treasure from the past.
 
A structure of another culture,
Wisteria and Jasmine gowned,
Ginger-breaded cupolas,
A broad porch that wrapped around.
 
Tall, red chimneys - more than one,
Suggesting warm and cheery rooms,
With fireplaces, crackling, dancing,
Dispelling any thoughts of gloom.
 
Sparkling, crystal chandeliers,
Peeking through the window panes,
And in the evenings, often heard
Faint and gentle music strains.
Swans
Stately, large, high-ceilinged rooms,
Almost too many to keep track,
With handsome, tasteful furniture,
Smartly stained - richly waxed.
 
If given the power of speech,
Oh, the tales this house could tell,
But now it just stirs fantasies,
Which, perhaps, is just as well.
 
For I can visualize and see,
Another era - another time,
When the house was newly built,
And everything was 'oh, so fine.'
 
With a family of gentility,
Of honor and respect,
Devoted first of all to God,
Then to land and country next.
Couple
I see strong, young men in uniform,
Blowing farewell kisses towards the porch,
And tearful ladies waving back,
As each man rides off upon his horse.
 
I see brothers fighting brothers,
In a most awful Civil War,
Protecting homes and families
And all that they adore.
 
Some men were lost; some men survived,
Some homes destroyed beyond repair,
Other men and homes untouched,
Although all had scars to bear.
 
I would guess this house so splendid,
Which now is such a joy to see,
Was once a bloody battle ground,
It's just a guess ... looks do deceive.
Swans
See that window in the tower,
I'll bet that's where the look-out stayed,
From there he'd see for miles around,
And know which ships were in the bay.
 
Check the flooring at the entry,
One section's totally replaced,
Charred clear through by a rebel's torch,
When trying to burn down the place.
 
And those posts now wreathed with flowers
Once held muskets, fully charged,
Aimed by the ladies of the house,
Trained on intruders in their yard.
 
In the cellar, secret rooms,
Used to hide escaping slaves,
Behind that bush, an obscure exit,
Which got them out and on their way.
Couple
Now you see a well-kept lawn,
Where once a powerful cannon sat,
The whole house shook when it went off,
Responding to the foe's attack.
 
From that tree, they hung a traitor,
I'm sure, a gruesome sight to see,
The tree today is still intact,
Though taller now and fully leaved.
 
Brush those vines back from the porch,
And bullet holes appear,
And next to them, well scrubbed, of course,
Are ugly, bloodied smears.
 
Most scars, it seems, well covered-up,
Not seen by gawking folks,
Who only stand and look in awe,
At a lovely home on a gentle slope.
Swans
Serenity personified,
Such a quiet, peaceful place,
No one sure of its history,
But, my, how minds can race.
 
Oh, beautiful house of dubious past,
You challenge the minds of men,
You tease their dreams and fantasies,
Over and over again.
 
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright June 2004 ~ Updated 2008


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The midi file is "Southern Women,"
played so beautifully by Margi Harrell.