Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: The Old Gross Place

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

This week?s favorite entry from a past column comes from Amy Chapman of Greenwood, who writes that Patricia Ranzoni?s poem about an abandoned farmhouse brings her old neighbors back to life. ?As long as they are preserved in her words,? Amy says. ?their sheer white curtains and their everyday lives are still present there.?

The Old Gross Place by Patricia Ranzoni

Across the road the
           old dairy is an apparition. 
Not haunted so much as
           that it is, itself, a ghost.
When I go for mail, Hazel
           is not in the kitchen.
Mary is not upstairs, Tom
           not in his chair
by the window. White sheers
           are an absence I prom-
ise to remember.
           One could watch forever
and never see them again.
           Search clean through
those waving old panes
           front to back, not a soul
not even a stick of their furniture
           to rest wavy eyes
on. Why a neighbor
           can look clear through
that thinning house
           all the way to heaven.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2000 Patricia Ranzoni. Reprinted from Settling, Puckerbrush Press, 2000, by permission of Patricia Ranzoni. Please note that the column is no longer accepting submissions; comments about it may be directed to special consultant to the poet laureate, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.