Join the Neopoet online poetry workshop and community to improve as a writer, meet fellow poets, and showcase your work. Sign up, submit your poetry, and get started.

The New House

Wasted days lounging late I hear them build
their house in our meadow over the wall....

Sad summer then autumn lost time has spilled,
without you, quick into that dismal, too small

box; the bare white rooms, the bright black door.
All wait for the new people, for fortune to fall
glad under the flaming ash, a familiar sycamore.

Come seek you keepers of our grave in the field,
where we buried a pet in a pine desk drawer,
unearth this proof of times awful harvest yield,

where I see the unglazed windows stare dark.
like the infinite sockets of a skull revealed

raw in winter light, then a memory still stark,
a spade in your hand, the dog's ghostly bark.

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I appreciate moderate constructive criticism
Editing stage: 


There is really seldom such thing as breaking "new" ground is there? We people have been around so much we've left our imprints and graves almost everywhere. I think line 3 needs a bit more work in clarifying the intent but otherwise I enjoyed the read......stan

Yes, when I read the poem I can see the work lacks some clarity and would require some redrafting. Thanks for reading.
I think in Line 3 I'm imagining a person now living alone, their partner has left or died ( hence the sad time dragging, sleeping late etc ), as nearby a new house is being, through summer then autumn, built. It is now winter, the house is nearly ready.
He hopes all will go well for the new people, but ends due to certain memories ( a dead pet, a lost partner, sudden winter ) meditating generally upon mortality.

I only began writing poetry two years ago in response to certain traumatic events, which we all go through. Usually this has been in free form, for a number of reasons, but after reading Frost's Acquainted with the Night I attempted to replicate the ryhming scheme. Thank you.

author comment

I was thinking of the house of God, and of course Act 5, Scene 1/the graveyard, Yorik scene, from Hamlet was the guiding inspiration, for example the clowns words "a pickaxe, and a spade, a spade" etc. or the gravedigger digging, "the house that he makes lasts till doomsday",
although to be hones the poem, at least in spirit, seems a rewrite of Robert Lowell's The Old Flame.

author comment

Hard to find a better poet to use for direction. He is my favorite poet and I don't think I've read a poem of his I didn't like.......stan BTW ain't rhyme fun? A bit more challenge to write and rhyme without it seeming forced

It is well crafted, although I did not pick up what your intent was in the comments. I think we can rely only so much on the reader being introduced to the poem, a unique universe. I got drawn into the poem as having buried a dog on my land, as i once did, and did not sense any neighbor. I thought the dog was the "you", and felt the poem could begin:

Where we buried a pet in a pine desk drawer,
Unearth this proof of times awful harvest yield.

Here we are immediately drawn into the poem, you have caught our attention. But the logic of just that event does not correspond to all the images in the poem, so I could not connect the dots. Especially with this powerful closing:

Raw in winter light, then a memory still stark,
A spade in your hand, the dog's ghostly bark.

I guess I'm a meat and potatoes reader, I want to know the the poem is about. To me the best of Frost is like snowy evenings, the wall, apple picking...when I know what the poem is about, even as they have many meanings and inferences that expand in the poetic imagination, A good amount of Frost's poetry I find inaccessible, I don't have a clue. I feel there is not enough on the plate so I could find the compromise between "meaning" and "being" . I need some clarity on the subject while still not needing any obvious conclusions, like the poem means this or that. And that's what my feelings are if you are considering redrafting. If you are imagining the neighbor, tell us about the neighbor as we could not know...
Hope I'm helpful. You are obviously from the poem a well read and a mature craftsman.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Yes, agree with your point about Frost and my poem overall. I don't mind fully understanding a poem, let's say Acquainted with the Night for example, or, for about five years academically on and off, I had the good fortune to study metaphysical poetry, Donne and Dryden for example, and I still don't have a clue.

I think the "you" in the poem is obviously a person, together they buried a dead dog, hence the spade in your hand, now he or she has gone, and despite the continuity of life, ie the new house, the new people, the narrator is still lost and still sees the doom as being pervasive, even for the hopes of the new people soon to arrive, in time they will have to bury their own. The dog I see as a symbol of fidelity, so I see the poem as really being about the death of a relationship, hence the images of doom, the grave, winter, the skulls etc. I could go on but I agree fully there is a lack of clarity, and the poem is in need of a extra line or two, definetly . Thank you for reading and your comments they are very much appreciated.

And of course one problem is partly, trying to imitate the terza rima/sonnet structure of Acquainted with the Night. Thank you.

author comment

you have achieved your goal in this edit. We know what it's about, and follow the narrative. But at the same time it expands nicely into many inferences in the poetic universe, works on many different levels of meaning. That's what good poetry is about to me. NIce poem!


I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

(c) No copyright is claimed by Neopoet to original member content.