#147 House Gone Blind

by Douglas Campbell

How many years, come June and July, have I sat at this window, listening to them, the men in my life who do the pruning? Afternoon wind lifts the pale face of leaves, sighs through the screen, overture of evening storms. A saw chants somewhere among dark miles of branches.

All their work has not kept the view. From here on my hill I once saw the far ridge of this wide river valley, the campus, the coal trains, roads unwinding. Now my house has gone blind behind towers of spruce, crowns of oak, as time outraces what can be trimmed or foreseen. I never dreamed I’d live sealed in these shadows, this yearly creep of new shade.

Two of my pruners were husbands, who kept the grounds clear while love or breath lasted. Now I hire the man who opens the path to my garden. He comes to the house for money, not for love. He will never reopen my life or my view, never slide a fond hand the length of my thigh.

Still I sit here, searching the view for those faces I knew so well, my earlier pruners, those men I loved, until memory fails and I’m forced to give up. What species is this, growing rank and rampant, obscuring the life I long to remember? Did I once touch those broad, strong shoulders? By candle and moonlight did they ever kiss my breasts?

Or could it be, as it seems, I was born this old?

16 comments:

Dino Parenti said...

Your language is exquisete. The longing you captured works wonderfully. Beautiful, forlorn little tale.

Anonymous said...

Really nicely rendered, Douglas. A very tender view filled with reverie and longing. A reader feels that and reacts accordingly.

Well done!

P. Frey

John C. Mannone said...

Awesome work! As a poet, I appreciate how you convolved poetic device into this flash.

Anonymous said...

I agree with John. Lovely, poetic, full of poignant truth, Douglas.

And so nice to see you in type!

Lucinda

JRVogt said...

Excellent piece. Great sense of denied longing.

Anonymous said...

Lots of wonderful underlying emotion and memory as this narrator looks out at the scene...a scene that has changed over time. This is a bittersweet take on both age and love. Masterfully done, as always.

Sherri C.

Anonymous said...

You paint a visual so well that I can see this older woman sitting at the window, missing the husbands she can't quite visualize herself any longer. Excellent!

April Winters

Janice D. Soderling said...

Finely rendered. Much enjoyed.

Anonymous said...

Douglas,

This is a beautiful story. All your stories are beautiful. Love reading you...

Chris SJ

Anonymous said...

Every word seems so perfectly gathered and placed.
But now I'm sad.

Len said...

Excellent work, Douglas. Very evocative.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work, Douglas, poetic, evocative.

Andrew Stancek

Phil Kenney said...

Douglas, this is a lovely piece. So evocative. And then the last line -- like a good koan. Thanks

McKenna Donovan said...

Beautiful layers of life in this one, Douglas! It leaves behind lovely imagery to ponder.

Chancelucky said...

Lovet he last line and the pruning linking to the vision linking to the men from her past.

bzobell said...

I wonder who Chancelucky is? So nicely done, Douglas, and with such an apt title. Love the mood. One of my favorite lines: "Two of my pruners were husbands." It's so nice to be older and talk about all those past husbands.