Friday, August 26, 2011

Mysteries - A Poem about Voices

by Amy LV

Lately I have been thinking about houses and moving and change.  This past month, my childhood home sold, and so it's likely that we will never go back there again.  Thinking about the closet where I used to play elevator, the secret spots where my sister and I once hid Easter eggs, and the wood stove where we warmed bare tootsies, I am both happy and sad.  

 My Childhood Home - 328 Burd Drive
Photo by Amy LV

I'm a grown up now, and my own family has had two homes.  We lived in the first one when our children were tiny, and this one once they past toddlerhood.  When we moved to Heart Rock Farm, I thought about the "baby memories" that we were leaving behind in our first home, that little brick ranch.  I wondered if I would miss the memory-ghosts, if the echoes of our little ones would be stuck in that house, not knowing how to follow us.

Students - it may seem strange that I wonder "if memories get stuck" or "if we can hear ancient voices when the light tilts just so."  But I am fascinated by how time and space cross each other over and over through generations.  At one time, a Native American family may have lived on this land.  I know for sure that the previous owners of our home married in our living room.  And I wonder if I squinted my eyes just right on a perfect day, if I could be right there back again, watching the ceremony.  Will someone hear my husband's voice laughing one hundred years from now...on this very spot?

When we write, sometimes it helps to let our minds relax and accept what might seem like unusual ideas.  Sometimes it's good and healthy just to close your eyes and listen to the quiet of your own trail of thoughts.  One will lead to another, and you might make surprising connections.  Yes, they might feel strange at first, but keep listening.

If you are moving or thinking about moving or interested in the feelings around moving, don't miss Ralph Fletcher's poetry book, MOVING DAY.

Irene is hosting today's Poetry Friday buffet over at Live. Love. Explore!

(Please click on POST A COMMENT below to share a thought.)


  1. Hey Amy! When David, the kids and I moved out of our first home, I went to the attic with a sharpie and wrote on one of the attic beams, "The Faas Family lived here" and put the dates. Was hoping that someday someone may wonder who had lived in the house.

    Hope that you are well.

  2. Amy, I love the idea of listening for those voices... and I understand your wistfulness about the sale of your childhood home. Great fodder for poems. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hmmm... very timely for me as well. I would most definitely check out your recommended book.

    Having moved around quite a bit even when I was a child, I now begin to realize that the more you move, the steadier you seem to be regardless of your geographical location - I don't know if that makes sense, but I now feel a sense of rootedness that is not tied to the land. Strange and odd, but ... true. :)

  4. Amy,

    We had to clean out and sell my mother's two-family house last year. It was truly a house packed with faimly memories. Only family members lived in the upstairs apartment over the span of six decades: My Uncle Benny and Aunt Tollie, my sister and her husband, my husband and I (for seven years), my father's mother, my niece Carolyn and her husband, and finally my niece Christine.


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  6. I was invited to speak at a writers' residency out on Penn Cove (Puget Sound) last week and through the window of the room they gave me I looked directly out at my mom and dad's old home, a wonderful beach place that is now owned by someone who doesn't use it much and is letting it go to seed. Oh, my kids and I loved that place!! It was awfully hard to pull myself away from the view through the window and do anything else - I'm pretty sure I heard the voices of ghosts, too. Thanks for posting this, Amy (and what a beautiful house on Burd Drive....)

  7. I'm looking forward to checking out Moving Day. Your poem reminded me of the ghost tour we took in Colonial Williamsburg this summer. Even telling ghost stories is a way of keeping those voices whispering.

  8. Love the sweet mystery in your poem and your post.

    Did you give Sage a special hug yesterday on National Dog Day?

  9. Aw, yes, Mary Lee! We have all been giving Sage (and Cali) special hugs every day!

    I love hearing these stories about homes and places gone-by and the voices we hear in the air and in our heads and hearts...