methow grist 2011-2014 archive


Walled In

My heart goes out
To houses in the city
So close
They have no secrets
The squeaking stairs in one
Competes with
The rocking chair in the other.

Once a lady told me that
Where she lives,
On Russian Hill,
The law has decreed
That six inches at least—the width
Of a carpenter’s hand—
Be left ‘tween the walls.

-- Doesn’t even leave sagging room
For those walls, in old age,
To bow abjectly
Their backs
And rest.

My home in a small town
Set high on a hill
With an acre around
Has room now to dance,
Jump rope, careen.

-- When old age attends,
The walls may squat
On their heels
To chat
Or lie on their bellies
Looking into
The firelight.






The late Marjory White, a teacher and librarian who lived most of her life in the Methow Valley, wrote this in 1979.