October 6, 2011

haunted house

she steps out of her car
and looks up
at the haunted house

gravel crunches underfoot
as she walks up to the
crumbling front porch

the old screen door
groans in protest

she enters the abandoned farmhouse
and is immediately surrounded
by ghosts

dusty floorboards
creak familiarly under her shoes

the ghosts follow her from
room to room
as she walks carefully through
this ancient tomb of memories

she hears her mother singing to her
and tucking her in for the night

she smells her father
old spice and pipe tobacco
as he sits at the kitchen table
helping her with her homework

the ghosts awaken all of her memories

climbing trees
saying grace before dinner
laughter and hugs
sitting by the fireplace on winter nights

the ghosts also show her
other memories

the despair in her father’s eyes
after he lost his wife
her mother

his continuous struggle
not to lose the farm
their home
to the banks

and the feeling of sadness she felt as she left
him for the last time

watching him in her rearview mirror
as she drove into the future

away from the ghosts

copyright © 2011 Kevin Routh

Written for the Poets United Thursday Think Tank prompt – Haunted Houses


  1. Nice..! blend or memories and life!

  2. This is fabulous.It painted the picture so clearly.Lovely photograph too. Tomorrow I will post a poem which will explain how apt
    and appropriate this was for me.

  3. Mmm, lovely and sad. Well-done :)

  4. So sad. I think all fathers must smell like Old Spice and pipe tobacco! This immediately conjured up a smell memory for me! Wonderful sensory images here.

  5. oh, so lonely and sad! It is haunting the memory of a loved one lost. The pipe tobacco really did it for me. I have smelled my Dad's tobacco, it conjures up many memories.
    Well Done~

  6. As a Papa's girl, this gave me a stab. The memories must have made her brave to enter the farmhouse again. Love this! So hauntingly sad, evokes a lot of fond family memories that most of us can relate with.

  7. nice - I really like the progression

  8. Wow, what a great response to this prompt. I am still sitting here in awe thinking about the ghosts in my life and how neat to see, feel, and hear them. Great work!

  9. nice blend of memory and spooky
    great poem


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