Mary Colborne-Veel

(New Zealand)

Empty Houses


I

THERE’S not a person in the street,
This merry-making summer day!
The houses stand in dull array;
No profit on their doors to beat,
For all their owners are away.

The gardens blossom white and red
All solitary in the sun,
Save where some timid creatures run;
Secure across the lawns to tread,
No human dangers here to shun,—

Since men have gone on holiday;
Have left the still, suburban street
For that wide park, where people meet
In pleasures till the eve is grey.
Oh, but the home-coming is sweet!

II

There’s not a person in the street
Where wandering in grief I go.
These strange small houses, set in row,
Send out no human form to greet,
No busy footfalls to and fro.

Tall poplars raise their shafts beside;
And mingled shades and sunbeams bless
God’s Acre, in its quietness—
God’s town, where men are drawn to bide
Untroubled by the world’s distress.

There comes no opening of the gate,
Though to my friend I plead and pray.
‘Patience!’ the trees and sunbeams say.
‘Here only empty houses wait,
While souls are keeping holiday.’

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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