Old Houses

Ki ora everyone.

I hope you’re having a great week at school. I hope you’ve got a great book to read at the moment.  Books can take you into other worlds.

I love old houses. Sometimes we stay in an old house next to the railway line in Oamaru when we go there for swimming lessons for my boys. Here is a poem I wrote about the house. Does it paint a picture in your mind? I hope it does.

The House on Humber Street

The house where shadows hide in corners

And mats walk.

 The house where an artificial Christmas tree

Stands empty in the corner. Waiting.

 The house with the formica table

And chrome-legged chairs

That drag me back to my childhood.

 The house with shelves of books

That swallow time.

 The house with the flowery curtains

And faded seascapes

And a cupboard that is not a cupboard at all

But a netting-sided safe

From pre-fridge days.

 The house where trains roar past in the night

Like giant dragons from make-believe land.

 The house that hides behind a hedge.

 The house where snails cling

To the underside of the back verandah

And flowers I cannot name

Push through cracks in the concrete.

 The house with history in the air.


Do you agree that books can swallow time?

Do you think some houses and other places have history in the air?

Ka kite ano

From Sandy Nelson

Author of The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound 


3 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Lisa said,

    This poem really reminded me of a holiday house that I stay in sometimes. It’s always a bit spooky being in someone elses house. I went to Isel house in Nelson earlier in the year. That is one house with a big sense of history!

  2. 2

    starauthor said,

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for commenting. I have never been to Isel House but I just googled it and I’ll go there next time I’m in Nelson. You’ve made me think about the house I lived in when I was a child. I think I’ll blog about it today!
    Sandy Nelson

  3. 3

    Anonymous said,

    that poem is awesome

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