The sun drinks in mist
of an early morning shower.
Rays linger gently
across a maiden fern
dancing softly in the breeze
of the summer porch.
A table dressed
in lace & gilded china,
with whiffs of omelets
& baking pastries.
Close now your eyes,
sort among the silence …
A faint hint of carriage wheels ?
Hooves beating familiar melodies
on the dry clay
of city streets,
drift back to the turn
of another century …

Carriages arrive one by one,
damp grass bows
to the print of many footsteps.
Doors open graciously
to the threshold
of a grand new world.
Paintings stir attention
in the reception hall,
whimsical notions of romanticism
bearing impressive signatures;
candles burn slowly
in crystaled chandeliers.
Old world treasures
uncrated & washed,
placed on tables
in elaborate settings of six;
Reminders of civilization
anchored against the culmination
of dreams wrapped up
in a vast wilderness
of confusion.

Muslin cares
are tossed in a heap
behind closet doors.
Ladies are once again;
radiant with laughter
in French fashion
& satin slippers
chosen to perfectly match …
Remnants of a world
their lover's lured them from
with fervent promises of paradise

The Atwood House
Lincoln's Grand Age of Innocence

Months stretched
across our dreams
as we waited for
wagons of oak
to nail and sand and varnish,
Now the last white brush stroke
covers the Greek columns
& our hand-carved headboard
reflects in its dresser's mirror
across the master suite.

A puff of dust
sifts through an open window,
unnoticed by the rush
of skirts brushing
against polished wood floors.
Italian porcelains
take center places
filled to bursting
with lacey sprigs of bridal wreath,
country lilacs
& imported rosebuds.
The spring sun gives in
to shadows of evening,
delicate fragrances
of gravies & bread pudding
drift among the rooms.

Decades arrive, then pass away
Feast, famine, war & blissful peace.
The house stands against storms
to gather memories
of a lifetime never lived before
on thick prairie sod.
Outside these windows
seedlings reach toward the sky,
spread into canopies of shade.
Lonely sighs of trains
come to pierce the quiet of night,
Horses give way to Model T's,
and a city grows around us
to become the heart of commerce
for a state.

Inside these walls,
fresh flowers bloom and fade.
We celebrate
the precious moments of our life
christenings, graduations, weddings
And cling to each other
in the dark hours before
we lay our own to rest.
Oak floors worn
with cares of the world,
rooms warmed by
hearts filled with love.
and walls eager to talk
if we only choose to listen …

whole Lifetimes
can be lived
in a few precious hours
blessed by love
in the lamp lit shadows
of a grand old house.


1997 copyright Jan Eloise Morris