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About this Poem 

This poem was published in Factories (Henry Holt and Company, 1917).

The House of Ghosts

The House of Ghosts was bright within,
     Aglow and warm and gay,
A place my own once loved me in,
     That is not there by day:

My hound lay drowsing on the floor:
     From sunken graves returned
My folk that I was lonely for
     Sat where the hearth-fire burned.

There was no lightest echo lost
     When I undid the door,
There was no shadow where I crossed
     The well-remembered floor.

I bent to whisper to my hound
     (So long he had been dead!)
He slept no lighter nor more sound,
     He did not lift his head.

I brushed my father as I came;
     He did not move or see—
I cried upon my mother’s name;
     She did not look at me.

Their faces in the firelight bent,
     They smiled in speaking slow
Of some old gracious merriment
     Forgotten years ago.

I was so changed since they had died!
     How could they know or guess
A voice that plead for love, and cried
     Of grief and loneliness?

Out from the House of Ghosts I fled
     Lest I should turn and see
The child I had been lift her head
     And stare aghast at me!

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Margaret Widdemer

Margaret Widdemer

Margaret Widdemer was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1884. In 1919, she won the Pulitzer Prize, then known as the Columbia University Prize, for her 1919 collection The Old Road to Paradise. She died in 1978. 

by this poet

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The Poor Old Soul plods down the street,
        Contented, and forgetting
How Youth was wild, and Spring was wild
        And how her life is setting;

And you lean out to watch her there,
        And pity, nor remember,
That Youth is hard, and Life is hard,
        And quiet is December. 
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Let us in through the guarded gate,
Let us in for our pain’s sake!
Lips set smiling and face made fair
Still for you through the pain we bare,
We have hid till our hearts were sore
Blacker things than you ever bore:
Let us in through the guarded gate,
Let us in for our pain’s

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If I could lift
    My heart but high enough
    My heart could fill with love:

But ah, my heart
    Too still and heavy stays
    Too brimming with old days.