The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday

Ghost House
By Robert Frost

I dwell in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
  And left no trace but the cellar walls,
  And a cellar in which the daylight falls,
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.

O'er ruined fences the grape-vines shield
The woods come back to the mowing field;
  The orchard tree has grown one copse
  Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;
The footpath down to the well is healed.

I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
  On that disused and forgotten road
  That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;

The whippoorwill is coming to shout
And hush and cluck and flutter about:
  I hear him begin far enough away
  Full many a time to say his say
Before he arrives to say it out.

It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
  Who share the unlit place with me—
  Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.

They are tireless folk, but slow and sad,
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,—
  With none among them that ever sings,
  And yet, in view of how many things,
As sweet companions as might be had.


I dropped and broke the liquid screen on my phone -- the one I just replaced a few months ago after slamming in a car door -- while being rushed to go get Daniel, who didn't actually need to be picked up for another hour anyway. This has put me in such a bad mood that, even though we took a lovely walk beforehand along the C&O Canal and Potomac River at Pennyfield Lock and saw Canada geese and mated vulture pairs, I shall post only photos of the ruined historic Pennyfield Inn, which is scheduled to be torn down as soon as the National Park Service gets around to it:

The once-fashionable Pennyfield Inn, where President Grover Cleveland used to stay when he came to Potomac for fishing, skinny-dipping and "skunned" eel.

The front of the house looks dilapidated even from a distance...

...but it's the side view of the roof that really demonstrates why the building cannot be saved.

The missing front door provides a view of the upstairs floor collapsed against the doorway.

This side room is a bit more intact...

...but shows clear signs that people have been inside (that graffiti letter "H" is recent, and on the back wall), which is a major reason the park service wants to tear it down before it collapses on someone.

It's a shame, because the building still looks scenic from across the lock.

But except for the lock house itself, even the outer buildings at Pennyfield Lock are in a terrible state of disrepair.

In other news, we bought cat litter after waiting in line for like half an hour; I had to put every single disc of my new complete Xena box set in the DVD player to make sure they played after discovering that two second-season discs (including the one with "A Day in the Life") was a complete dud; and the Grammys show no signs of ending any time soon and if it hadn't been for old guys like Paul McCartney and Neil Diamond, I'd be ashamed to have watched (that "I Kissed a Girl" production number was revolting). So I am going to take my very cranky butt to bed and hope that the washing machine, DVDs and phone count as my share of mechanical difficulties for the month!

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