A poem by Frank
(not every poem has to rhyme)
Yesterday, during a walkabout
Through the shaded country pathways
And gentle, rolling, green hills of Surrey
I came across an old, abandoned cottage.
Taking a short break from the heat of the sun
I sat on a fence and looked at the building
With its crumbling chimney flue and broken gate
Its overgrown hedges and wild garden of poison ivy
Its boarded up windows and peeling paintwork.
I tried to imagine what it would have looked like
In its heyday, with kids running about
Screaming and playing on the manicured lawn
A fresh coat of paint and rose bushes
Flowering around the lead panels of the windows
A welcome mat nestled against the open front door
That lay slightly , emitting the sounds of soft
Classical music and the smell of fresh baked bread.
The location was idyllic, the kind of place I would retire to.
I was just why such a beautiful place would be allowed to rot
When I noticed an elderly lady who had been walking up the path
And was standing about five paces away, watching me,
After bidding her hello, I asked if she knew about this place
If she had ever been inside it when it was habitable
And if she knew the owners.
She answered yes to all my questions and agreed with me
That it was a shame it had been allowed to rot.
I asked her if anyone had tried to buy it
And she told that a young family had wanted it
Years before, not long after the previous had died
But the person who had inherited it refused to sell
On the grounds that kids weren’t or welcomed
And the family had moved on, gone looking elsewhere.
After that a kind of legend had grown around the place
It that the dead owner, a woman in her seventies
Famous in these parts for her love of hats, had cursed her nephew
To whom she had left the cottage, such was her outrage at the
Nephew’s attitude toward children that she had haunted the place
Scaring away any and all prospective buyers, eventually the nephew
Had himself passed away and the place had fallen into disrepair.
As she told the story, I studied her pained expression,
Her piercing blue eyes shone like burning sapphires
Beneath the wide brimmed hat, her delicate shoulders
Trembled softly as if she was sobbing.
When she finished, I agreed with her that it was
A pity and a sad story and thanked her for telling it
I got up and and continued my walk
I looked back once to wave to her, but she was gone…