Lisel Mueller

(February 8, 1924)

Scenic Route


For Lucy, who called them "ghost houses."


Someone was always leaving
and never coming back.
The wooden houses wait like old wives
along this road; they are everywhere,
abandoned, leaning, turning gray.

Someone always traded
the lonely beauty
of hemlock and stony lakeshore
for survival, packed up his life
and drove off to the city.
In the yards the apple trees
keep hanging on, but the fruit
grows smaller year by year.

When we come this way again
the trees will have gone wild,
the houses collapsed, not even worth
the human act of breaking in.
Fields will have taken over.

What we will recognize
is the wind, the same fierce wind,
which has no history.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Colleen Courtney (5/17/2014 5:44:00 PM)

    Her wording of this poem makes me feel as if I'm traveling along with the poet on this trip! So vividly descriptive! (Report) Reply

  • Poetry Hound (1/29/2005 7:58:00 AM)

    She really brings out how evocative an abandonded house is, how there's a life that's been abandoned too. The closing stanza is a perfect ending. (Report) Reply

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