Dark House: A Poem About Foreclosure

I’ve been arguing that the recession, while indubitably disastrous, is leading to a deeper exploration of creative outlets and various art forms. That newly triggered need for art, plus the fact that April is National Poetry Month, compelled me to write the feature “Poetry to Inspire You in the Recession.” Because:

Sometimes, when things are looking bleak, all you need is something beautiful to remind you that the world is bigger than Wall Street, Main Street or those grossly unfair AIG bonuses.” [click for full article]

The feature has some great poems, but there was one that I didn’t include because first of all, it’s not inspiring. It’s one of those superbly depressing poems that makes even sunrise seem totally hopeless. (Take that, Thoreau!) Second of all, it’s not really recession related.

But it is an elegy for an abandoned house. In the poem, Tennyson is standing outside the “Dark House” where his dead lover, Arthur Hallam, used to live. It’s a section of an desperate, aching melodramatic poem, “In Memoriam AHH” and is an expression of how Tennyson’s life is totally shattered by the death of this beautiful, beautiful boy. When I read it in high school, I thought it deeply heartbreaking and I developed a weird crush on the long-dead Arthur. But now, I’ve relinquished the intellectual life to become a member of the “media,” meaning: I will find any excuse to write about the recession hoping that hordes of fearful American will cling to my articles scouring for paths to salvation, consolation or more reasons to panic.

Naturally, I started to think that “Dark House” wasn’t about lost love at all. It was about foreclosure. You be the judge:

Dark house, by which once more I stand

Here in the long unlovely street,

Doors, where my heart was used to beat

So quickly, waiting for a hand,

A hand that can be clasp’d no more—

Behold me, for I cannot sleep,

And like a guilty thing I creep

At earliest morning to the door.

He is not here; but far away

The noise of life begins again,

And ghastly thro’ the drizzling rain

On the bald street breaks the blank day.

For more poetry, I highly recommend signing up for the Poem of the Day Email from the Academy American Poets or visiting findingDulcinea’s Listening to Poetry feature.

P.S I got a Kreative Blog award from The Change I Wish To See and The Zombie Chicken Award from Lydia at WriterQuake.

Lydia’s Zombie Chicken Award:

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…

I pick 5 Bloggers. I pass it on.

Kreativ Blog: 7 Things I like, 7 blogs I like. I pass it on.

I’m getting it to guys, I swear. For now, everyone should visit the fabulous blogs of the fabulous Academy (aka bestowers of blog awards.)


3 thoughts on “Dark House: A Poem About Foreclosure

  1. I’d say lost love can be kinda like a foreclosure…or exactly like it, maybe…Anyway, yeah, the recession’s probably good for creativity. Certainly it’s not a coincidence that Russia, one of the most consistently cold and miserable countries on earth, has produced so many of the world’s greatest novelists. And would blues, jazz, soul, funk, rock, hip-hop, etc. exist without the legacy of the incredible dehumanization of American race-based slavery and segregation (which also served as a major source of inspiration for Whitman, Twain, Faulkner, etc.)? Where would the arts be without misery?

  2. Wow, that’s a rather essential look at foreclosure I’d say. Difficult to read because it cuts to the angst we feel these days.

    I agree that the recession is doing some good for art, among other things like a return to basics, teaching kids about saving, a sense of gratitude…..

  3. Hi,

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