Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: The Habitation

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Lewis Turco, who lives in Dresden Mills, is author of numerous poetry collections and The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics, called “the poets’ Bible” since 1968. In today’s intriguing poem he offers the description of a house – or is it something more than a house?

The Habitation by Lewis Turco

                              There is no way out.
                    Now the windows have begun
                    to cloud over: cobwebs, dust.
          The stairs and floors are unstable—
the hours nibble the foundations.
                              In the bedrooms, sheets
                    have begun to yellow, spreads
                    to fray. Coverlets have worn
          to the colors of late autumn,
thin as a draft sifting at the sill.
                              On the kitchen floor
                    crumbs and rinds lie recalling
                    the old feasts. In the larder
          preserves rust among speckled jars;
the bins yawn; shadow sates the cupboards.
                              The fire has been damped
                    at the hearth: its bed of ash
                    sinks in pit-holes over brick.
          The ceiling snows on the carpet—
Rejoice! Rejoice! The house is failing!

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2007 by Lewis Turco. Reprinted from Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems of Lewis Turco 1959-2007, Star Cloud Press, 2007, by permission of Lewis Turco. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or 207-228-8263.