This House

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It stands solitary, this house of old times. Abandoned, disconnected from the warm hearts of human company. The weathervane high on the roof squeakily swings to north, chill winds flurry through broken windows, rearranging from corner to corner the dust of years; life that was, life no more.

Once brightly painted whiteness mixed with striking beams of ebony, now dirty mud green hues taking over external walls, slowly pulling over a moss green overcoat. Terracotta chimneys still red as Mars, crumbling piece by piece, like cake secretly eaten. A glassless window, wide and gaping, waits for the curious stranger to rudely invade.

Inside a maze of halls and deserted rooms, damp wallpaper curls, slowly separating from once proud and decorated walls, colour, glamour and chic. Extravagant ceilings, paintings in sky clouds, mythology descending in particles. An ardent creation, slowly passing. Psyche and Eros, fading lovers, leaving their glory days. And they too shall not escape dissolving.

Chandeliers hanging high, no light to shine, no sparkle from tear-drop glass, just spiders spinning, tangled candy floss beds. A hushed breath of air circles, breathes on them all, chandeliers gently sway like pendulums tick-tocking seconds of time.

The stairway sweeps, curvaceous, impressive, inviting, but wood distressed in age, groans with despair, whimpers in weakness when feet climb it’s bony boards. Stairs that once heaved with parties, men and women dressed in their finest – carefree, young, invincible. How they laughed at the thought of old age, flirted with smooth young bodies, lifted their glasses high in a toast of hope and better days. Their voices, their essence, their fragrance, lingers somewhere. And the faint sound of music still echoes from the walls – but dense silence covers, hiding what lived and breathed, as though they never were.

On this day, from behind a smoky cloud the sun appears once more, dazzling, piercing the stained glass, it’s colours unbroken. Light illuminates, dropping translucent pools of rainbows, spilling across unpolished floors, lifting and lightening the darkness of shadow. Revealing particles in sustained spiral, fragments of yesterday, the evidence of lives, their dust still dancing in a ray of light.

A small moment, a fleeting performance for the uninvited visitor. This house wishes to explain, how much it was, everything it used to be. A beauty, a bright young thing, in the springtime of life.

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Pictures: Niki Feijen

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11 thoughts on “This House

    1. Thank you Bruce! Yes the house is in a sorry state! Niki Feijen has a whole load of pictures on his Flickr account of houses like this from all over the world, there’s quite a lot of photographers obsessed with collections of all the abandoned buildings, and it’s quite surprising just how many there are!
      Suzy 🙂

  1. I almost wish I’d read this before looking at the picture. I think it is a very well done description. And I love the fact that you include the internal life / self-perception of the house.

    1. Yes the pictures do imprint a lot on the mind, and writing should convey a picture in itself. I actually used these pictures and about 12 other ones to help me write this, as it is many years since I’ve actually been in an abandoned house, and I needed something to create some reality in my mind. The self perception of the house I worked in because without it the work felt a bit lifeless. Obviously a house doesn’t have a brain or memories or a desire to say anything, but I felt adding something a little human created in a strange way a connection to memories and the ageing process in ourselves.
      I’m glad you liked it and thanks for your comment!
      Suzy 🙂

    1. Thank you very much Chris! 🙂 Yes, descriptive is definitely what this is. It was written as a poem at first, so I kept some of that feel the poem originally had, and extended it to a kind of a story. Although it’s more like a piece from a short story, instead of a traditional story. Good to hear it was food for thought – it was a good exercise for me! 🙂

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