The old house awoke one morn,
And stretched from eave to eave,
He looked about his neighborhood,
And did not like what he perceived.
Up and down and cross the street,
All his old friends were gone,
Through the years, they'd disappeared,
Demolished and torn down.
He shook his chimney slightly,
With dismay and in despair,
It broke his heart to see
The newer houses rising there.
First one was built, and then another,
Soon a whole group that looked like clones,
Identical in style and size,
A row of postage stamp, small homes.
He was amazed at their construction,
Each built of steel, concrete, and glass,
His aging shutters shuddered,
To see them go up so fast.
For the foundation of each house,
Cold, grey cement was poured,
Which was topped by sheets of plywood,
Unlike his handsome hardwood floors.
The old house chuckled to himself,
Floor-boards are more than floors, you know
Some of his were loosed and raised
To hide fine treasures down below.
Why, even now, a toy truck
Still lurked in such a space,
Placed there by a little boy
Who knew it would be safe.
All these years the old house held it,
And kept it safe from prying eyes,
The boy now is grown and gone,
But that toy truck was once his prize.
The old house liked being trusted,
With the secrets he concealed,
He felt pity for the new homes,
For such trust they'd never feel.
The old house had an awesome attic,
The newer homes had none,
Where would kids play on rainy days?
And where would they hide for fun?
Where would one stash old trunks away,
Filled with memories of the past,
Old scrap books and old year books,
And precious notes and autographs?
A house without an attic
Is like a man without a heart,
He can exist, but cannot live,
Without that necessary part.
The old house loved his gabled roof,
So tall and proud it stood,
It enabled him to see around
The entire neighborhood.
But he could not see the roofs
Of the houses cross the street,
All flat topped and modern,
Not a one of them unique.
Flower boxes on his window sills,
Still held rambling, red geraniums,
But no such boxes on new houses,
For some would think them tiresome.
His big front porch was something else
That newer houses did not own,
So sad - the pleasures that were missed,
With no front porches on those homes.
His held a rocker and porch swing,
And a railing for one's toes,
A perfect spot to sit and talk,
Or stretch out one's legs and doze.
He loved his tinkling wind chimes,
His lattice work and gingerbread,
And it was fun to gently swing
His flower baskets overhead.
The sleek new houses cross the street
Seemed indifferent, stark, and cold,
He looked through their matching windows,
Though there was nothing to behold.
But this old house was happy,
He was designed with love in mind,
And people passing by him
Sensed warmth behind his blinds.
Though he was, of course, old-fashioned,
The old house spoke out with pride,
"I've been here one hundred years,
And ... look ... I'm still alive!"
"I've weathered storms and earthquakes,
I have mastered heat and cold,
I've survived cats and dogs and kids,
And I've thrived as I've grown old."
He smiled at his neighbors,
Who did not smile back,
But the old house didn't care,
He simply swayed and laughed.
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright October 2004 ~ Revised 2008