Sunday, July 12, 2009

Story book cottage (2 of 2)

Here we go, the Story Book house up close. No smoke from the chimney because it is yet another abandoned farmhouse with sheds stuffed with junk.

Don't all those leafless trees add to the sense of ghostly abandon.

From The Black Cottage by Robert Frost
"But what I'm getting to is how forsaken
A little cottage this has always seemed;
Since she went more than ever, but before--
I don't mean altogether by the lives
That had gone out of it, the father first,
Then the two sons, till she was left alone.
(Nothing could draw her after those two sons.
She valued the considerate neglect
She had at some cost taught them after years.)
I mean by the world's having passed it by--
As we almost got by this afternoon.
It always seems to me a sort of mark
To measure how far fifty years have brought us.
Why not sit down if you are in no haste?
These doorsteps seldom have a visitor.
The warping boards pull out their own old nails
With none to tread and put them in their place."


  1. It looks like it was built in stages to accommodate a growing family. The bare branches do reek of abandon. And yet, the house paddock is so well defined. Immensely melancoly isn't it?

    I have read that Frost through again and again. I will get out my anthology and thumb a few pages. I love his phlegmatic voice. The expression "considerate neglect" really hits the solar-plexus. And the image boards removing their own nails.

    I love this pair of posts JE. You have created a little world for this cottage.

  2. It's an extract from a much longer poem. The neglect, nails did it for me too.

    Frost is one of my absolute favourites. Subject matter and voice, just perfect.

  3. One of the many things I learned through your blog is: there is rain in Australia.
    Don't laugh.
    I am serious: I always thought of Australia as either desert or tropical coasts. Never as an English countryside.
    I am ashamed, yes.

  4. Blogs are terrific for this sort of learning, aren't they.

    I keep finding Americans that I like ... oops ... countryist ...

  5. Julie, Joan Elizabeth, yes, it is amazing how much I have learned, learn and hopefully will learn through your blogs, :-).

    Julie, hehe ... ;-)