Friday, May 15, 2009



My shame here is in sagging floors,

The gaping stare of empty doorframes,

In weather dripping down rotted timbers,

And the tumble-down porch

Leaning away at a fierce angle

From what was my face.

My tears are in the rain that falls

Through missing shingles,

Pooling around places under windows

Where lacy curtains hung.

Oh, how many faces gazed out from me.

Where now is broken glass,

Where the wind cries and the moth tumbles,

And the dauber builds her nest!

Where have the people gone?

Where have they gone?

Once I rang with laughter,

Joyed in birth and childhood.

I knew grief and happiness within,

The voices of the living,

Pain of parting and the silence of the dead

Now I am habited by ghosts,

Taunted by a creaking staircase,

Undone by crumbling masonry--

I have grown up trees in front

To hide me from the highway.


Jack Peachum

Mecklenburg County, Virginia