The House of Ghosts
The House of Ghosts was bright within,
Aglow and warm and gay,
A place my own once loved me in,
That is not there by day:
My hound lay drowsing on the floor:
From sunken graves returned
My folk that I was lonely for
Sat where the hearth-fire burned.
There was no lightest echo lost
When I undid the door,
There was no shadow where I crossed
The well-remembered floor.
I bent to whisper to my hound
(So long he had been dead!)
He slept no lighter nor more sound,
He did not lift his head.
I brushed my father as I came;
He did not move or see—
I cried upon my mother’s name;
She did not look at me.
Their faces in the firelight bent,
They smiled in speaking slow
Of some old gracious merriment
Forgotten years ago.
I was so changed since they had died!
How could they know or guess
A voice that plead for love, and cried
Of grief and loneliness?
Out from the House of Ghosts I fled
Lest I should turn and see
The child I had been lift her head
And stare aghast at me!
This poem is in the public domain.
About this Poem
This poem was published in Factories (Henry Holt and Company, 1917).
Margaret Widdemer was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1884. In 1919, she won the Pulitzer Prize, then known as the Columbia University Prize, for her 1919 collection The Old Road to Paradise. She died in 1978.
Date Published: 2018-09-20
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/house-ghosts