A House-Moving

Feb 16, 2017

Today’s poem is “A House-Moving” by Deborah Cummins. Deborah Cummins is the author of an essay collection, Here and Away: Discovering Home on an Island in Maine, and two collections of poetry, Counting the Waves and Beyond the Reach. She lives in Deer Isle and Portland.

Deborah writes “I once was stopped in traffic due to a house being moved on skids -- a big old white clapboard that seemed as wide as the road. It lumbered down the road, ponderous and clanking. I was struck by the unlikeliness of it, the what at the time seemed like the immensity of it, not someone moving to a house, but moving to a house which itself had been moved. And what that must seem like after -- the house pretty much the same but in an entirely different place.  

A House-Moving

Summer folks, locals, we’ve all come to gawk
at a white, two-story clapboard
rolling through town, its ponderous weight
that of celebrity. The owners
have inherited a better view of the cove
and for such an undertaking, there’s a surprising
absence of shuddering, clanking.
As if, rooted to its foundation 120 years,
its accumulations more intricate than the tides’,
this house is going agreeably, the sway
of curtains at its open windows almost a wave.
Tomorrow, its owners will awake
in their familiar beds, retrieve from accustomed places
toothbrushes, cups. They’ll see the water
at a different angle, more light will crown
some taller spruce, Gene Eaton’s pickup
will grind through the gears from a greater distance
and they might believe
it is in their power to move the world.
A momentary lapse like my wish for a Hereafter
where little is changed. A simple awakening:
the table already set, my favorite goblets gleaming.

Used by permission.