Ghost House

I dwell in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls,
And a cellar in which the daylight falls
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.

O’er ruined fences the grape-vines shield
The woods come back to the mowing field;
The orchard tree has grown one copse
Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;
The footpath down to the well is healed.

I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
On that disused and forgotten road
That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;

The whippoorwill is coming to shout
And hush and cluck and flutter about:
I hear him begin far enough away
Full many a time to say his say
Before he arrives to say it out.

It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
Who share the unlit place with me—
Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.

They are tireless folk, but slow and sad—
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,—
With none among them that ever sings,
And yet, in view of how many things,
As sweet companions as might be had.

Ghost House by Robert Frost. 
Crossdrum Lower, County Meath – one of the houses featured in The Irish Aesthete: Ruins of Ireland (Cico Books), now available to order from your favourite local bookshop or online from Amazon…

8 comments on “Ghost House

  1. elmozi says:

    Very moving.
    Eternal life – 0, Nature – 1.
    Thanks Robert.
    See you at the launch, I hope.
    E x
    (Who knew toads enjoy a dust-bath).

  2. catemogs says:

    The atmosphere created by the poem is perfectedly reflected in the melancholic house. Really appreciate it on a drizzly morning in West Wales…thank you. 😊

  3. Greatly enjoyed reading Irish Times article on Saturday 2nd Feb. I urge that you would take a look at Galway City Council Planning File 18-406. This concerns retention of a development at ‘Rahoon House’, Galway. A Protected Structure – 1780s Georgian locally important historic house that was sold in mid 90s, with farmland around it for development of urban housing estates for a growing city. Despite years spent trying to get city council to enforce its own protection rule. Issuing several Enforcement notices and Endangerment letters going back 20 plus years, no actual enforcement ever happened to keep slate roof repaired. The sodden house has recently been stripped of its roof with all new replacement by a new owner its roof timbers and decorative plaster ceilings within along with a ‘hockey stick’ staircase are gone. External render has also been removed ready for the application of modern nap plaster. City Council will shortly issue a decision which I suspect will allow retention of these works already done with no permissions, which is an offence under the planning Acts. Cairde na Gaillimhe, Galway Civic Trust, Galway Archaeological & History Society as well as An Taisce have all previously sought protective action on this to no avail. There simply is no interest from a local authority that purports to represent a City of Culture, in culture!

  4. Janette Hunt says:

    Hauntingly beautiful poem. The House looks so like the much loved Moore Hall in Mayo.

  5. teresastokes says:

    The pictures brought a tear to my eye, this must be the saddest, sorriest house in the entire history of your blog.

  6. Peter Davidson says:

    One of your most memorable conjunctions of images and verse. Thank you. Be assured,an order for your book has already been placed with Blackwells in Broad Street!

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