Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the tag “house”

Sketch 8: Descent

This particular poem deals with an image from my grandmother’s funeral. I’ve always thought smell to be my most acute sense so it’s not surprising that incense should be an important part of my memory. A single smell can easily transport me back in time.

My grandmother was Catholic, and Catholicism was very important to her generation, defining them in a way it never did me. But then again, I lived in different times – a Catholic would soon become president of the United States, and it had been a long time since No Irish Need Apply signs were seen. When I visited relatives in Ireland, and they took me to the rubble that remained of my grandmother’s house, they also brought me to a landmark where Catholics used to secretly meet to worship when the religion had been outlawed. I was asked, “How would your parents feel if you married a Protestant?”

Although titles for me are more often than not a necessary evil, I do like this one and the double meaning of descent.

Book 20

‘”You are shrouded in night from top to toe,
Lamentation flares, your cheeks melt with tears,
And the walls of the house are spattered with blood.
The porch and the court are crowded with ghosts
Streaming down to the undergloom. The sun is gone
From heaven, and an evil mist spreads over the land.”
20.387-392

Book 2

“Hear me, god of yesterday. You came to our house
And commanded me to sail the misty sea
In search of news of my long-absent father.”
2.285-287

Being the Youngest 1

“The neighbors’ house needs painting. You’re such a good little worker. Here’s a can of paint. Surprise them!”

Water and Silt

Water and Silt
Ever the dreamer
unable to see
as his carefully laid plans
came to naught,
and he found himself
in a century-old house
where cats had
crawled about
the matriarch of the clan
rocking in her chair
with simplistic ease. 

In a land of poverty
where nothing took to the soil
but weeds.

When winter came
you moved about
to keep warm
as if there were no walls
surrounding you.

You turned on
the creaky bathtub
faucet,
and after an
interminable delay,
there came a
burst
like a bronchial fit,
an equal measure
of water and silt.

Sketch 1: Alongside Twilight

The expansive lawn and black Labrador in the photograph may have very well belonged to another family if it were not for that tall thin man puffing on a cigarette. Considering my age, it is not surprisingly I don’t remember them.

I remember our next house. And our dog. He was a beagle, who just so happened to be named Gaylord, but who did not as far as I know look kind of lazy or act kind of crazy. However, he did go missing one hunting season. My dad always thought he was stolen. Since beagles notoriously follow scents, one will never know.

That my early childhood years were spent on consumer goods is also evident from the fact that I remember the daily pilgrimage to the mail box to check whether the Toucan Sam I had sent in for, presumably with countless Fruit Loop box tops, had arrived.

While my neighborhood was only 12 miles from the downtown of a large city, looking around one never would have imagined this. We lived on a dirt road and across the street was a field where we played baseball. In our backyard ran a creek, and one Easter we got ducklings which we named after the Monkees, and which grew and were healthy until they were most unceremoniously devoured by our neighbor’s dog, Bozo. There was a small pond up the street on the corner of which was the Catholic Church we went to on Sundays and the parochial grade school my siblings attended.

Not 10 minutes away was a very steep hill we would toboggan down in winter. To get there we passed a wooden fenced area with grazing horses and a huge barn. One day it caught fire, and I can still see the clouds of smoke that appeared in the sky and feel the heat of the flames devouring the structure.

Turn! Turn! Turn! and And I Love Her never fail to transport me back to these times:

It’s as if I’m taking a trip in The Time Tunnel:

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