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Monday, 27 June 2011

The House is More Than Any of Us Know.

You know the satisfying sound
a gear engaging makes,
one from the workshop of a master engineer?
It is the sound made by the house from
midnight on, the sigh
of one responding to my change of mood, achieving
something like a flawless ratio
between
my current needs and its reserves of power.

You know the crack and flap
a sheet makes on a line on gusty days?
It is the sound the house will use to scare
away intruders in the night,
those souls who wander in from dreams
to trespass in our world.
If they are threat, the house will see them off.
On still days, when the sheet hangs soundlessly,
the house will not disturb our dreams.

You know the sounds a dog makes
shaking water from its fur -
even to the sigh it makes
when it feels dry again?
Those are the sounds the house emits
when shaking off the troubles of the day,
unwinding itself loosely into night.
As on a tide that's ever turning,
it rocks us from our cares into the deep.

You know the sound of distant voices,
their rhythms unmistakable,
the words so incoherent
that you can't be sure?
From somewhere in the house those self-same voices
drift in and out of hearing in the night.
Then nights ago it struck me: This is song,
like bird song marking boundaries between
the house and not-house, wakefulness and sleep.

17 comments:

SG said...

You have made the house come alive. I guess, in a strange way, every house does have a life. It is just that sometimes, in fact, more often than not, the language it speaks is not perspicuous enough for the inhabitants. Or the inhabitants do not care enough to lend it an ear.

Jenny Woolf said...

I like the idea of the house having a life of its own,but on a different time scale - like plants. I once wrote a series of song lyrics about a house

Isabel Doyle said...

that's not a house, that's a home - when the word meant something

Mary said...

Oh yes, every house has its sounds...or perhaps I will agree with Isabel and say every home has its sounds. My dogs react sometimes to some of them here, even when I don't hear them..eerie.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Like the idea of boundaries Dave

Philip Verghese'Ariel' said...

Hi Good to visit this lovely page. i just browse thru and found it very enjoyable place to roam around. Thank you so much for sharing those lovely, thought provoking and meaning lines.
Best regards
philp

Hannah Stephenson said...

I absolutely love this piece of yours! I can SO hear this...I know just what you mean.

Your last line is really sticking with me....you should submit this one to journals, Dave!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Great poem, my perception of sounds of this kind reminds me of my past and my Memory Rooms vividly.

Claudia said...

this has a fantastic balanced rhythm and every house sure has its own voice

120 Socks said...

Liked this very much - every house/home has its own language.

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable indeed ,every house has its own nuance and soul :-).

Lolamouse said...

I love this poem of yours! I found myself saying, "Yeah, I know!" after each stanza describing a sound. Such a warm and comforting thoughts.

Poetry Potluck said...

fantastic.

Peter Goulding said...

Intrigued by how you don't make the repetition sound repetitive! The very subtle change in construction through the stanzas sustains it to the end. Really very good.

Jim Murdoch said...

Enjoyed this piece. Read it over several times and it flows well, some nice sonorities especially the repetitious ‘ou’ rhyme in ‘house’, ‘sound’ and ‘our’. As usual I have a comment to make: think about changing ‘my’ to ‘each’ in the first stanza. In all other places you talk about the house and although you’re using the definite article it still feels as if you’re talking about a generic house: it’s not simply your house that creaks and groans as it settles but every house uniquely. By using ‘my’ you reduce the poem to one specific house – you don’t say ‘my house’ but you might as well have. Also in all other places you say ‘our’ and not ‘my’.

Dave King said...

SG
I agree that houses have a life of their own. Or at least, many do. The language, I guess, is one that has come down to them from the Tower of Babel.

Jenny
You should post some of your lyrics. We'd all like to red them, I'm sure.

Isabel
True. Very true.

Mary
Maybe animals are closer to the wavelengths.

The Weaver of Grass
They are at the back of a lot of my writing and thinking. I got interested in them after studying fractals.

Philip
Hi, and a very warm welcome to you. My thanks for the comment. Good to have the feedback.

Hannah
Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. Maybe I should try to find myself a journal!

Tommaso
Much thanks for the comment.

Claudia
Yes, I believe you could be right about that. I have lived in seven houses, and thay have all had their own voices, certainly.

120 Socks
Thanks, and yes, I think that's true.

Windsmoke
Thanks for the feedback. Most useful.

Lolamouse
It's really great to know that it's not just me!

Potluck
Many thanks.

Peter
Thanmks for that. I hadn't been aware of it (!), so shall have to go back and study it. Most useful feedback!

Jim
Many thanks for those comment Jim. I will certainly read it over again and have a think. I think I take your point, but maybe am too close to it for final touches.

TechnoBabe said...

The sounds of each of our houses is like a song, one the inhabitants hear and visitors wonder at the look that crosses our faces.