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Poem by Joyce Kilmer


The House with Nobody in It


Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track
I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black.
I suppose Ive passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for 
a minute
And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in 
it.
I never have seen a haunted house, but I hear there 
are such things;
That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings.
I know this house isnt haunted, and I wish it were, I do;
For it wouldnt be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.
This house on the road to Suffern needs a dozen 
panes of glass,
And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass.
It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed 
and tied;
But what it needs the most of all is some people living inside.
If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid
Id put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade.
Id buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be
And Id find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.
Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window 
and door,
Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the 
store.
But theres nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone
For the lack of something within it that it has never known.
But a house that has done what a house should do,
a house that has sheltered life,
That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
A house that has echoed a babys laugh and held up his stumbling 
feet,
Is the saddest sight, when its left alone, that ever your eyes 
could meet.
So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie track
I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back,
Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen 
apart,
For I cant help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken 
heart.



Joyce Kilmer


Joyce Kilmer's other poems:
  1. In Memory
  2. Pennies
  3. Queen Elizabeth Speaks
  4. Madness
  5. St. Alexis, Patron of Beggars


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