Old Houses

September 07, 2011

Photo courtesy Fred Fokkelman
Here is a lovely poem by Robert Cording, a poet who lives in Connecticut, which shows us a fresh new way of looking at something commonplace. That’s the kind of valuable service a poet can provide. [Introduction by Ted Kooser.]

Old Houses

Year after year after year
I have come to love slowly

how old houses hold themselves—

before November’s drizzled rain
or the refreshing light of June—

as if they have all come to agree
that, in time, the days are no longer
a matter of suffering or rejoicing.

I have come to love
how they take on the color of rain or sun
as they go on keeping their vigil

without need of a sign, awaiting nothing

more than the birds that sing from the eaves,
the seizing cold that sounds the rafters.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2010 by Robert Cording from his most recent book of poetry, “Walking with Ruskin,” CavanKerry Press, Ltd., 2010. Reprinted by permission of Robert Cording. Introduction copyright ©2011 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

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  1. Nice poem. I think an old person sitting on an old-house porch would even fit as we learn slowly how to just be. When we are young we want to frame ourselves and plaster over that frame and then painte ourselves different colors. As we go through the years we renovate ourselves over and over and finally, like the old house, we learn to just sit and be; that's enough.

  2. Lovely though, Timaree. As I get older, I hope I learn to accept myself more, and not always try to "fix" things.

  3. This is so nice. I love old houses too. Even foundations, where I wonder what happened to the house and those who lived there. Well, I love almost all houses, come to think of it. Unless they are built cheap without enough windows and light. The end.

  4. Kathy--I love old houses too, and had fun choosing a photo to go with the poem. I found lots of interesting old homes to look at.