Saturday, September 25, 2021

The White House


The White House
Fall is sky
of milk and water, of
sand and blood, a field of ev'ry fruit
and folly, gathered around the slant white house that
rocked its boards like a boat and took in
the moon's footloose orphans.
The white house 

grew a child;
it seemed safe there by the
warm muddy lake,rough beach of red dirt,
trees bent over brown water by the weight of locusts'
spell chanting out the night, the old gods'
didgeridoo. There were
always dogs
in the yard,
toys on the floor, music
in the hall, food in the kitchen, bells
of laughter rung on blue sheets, your bright virgin eyes
umber as winter oak, wild as wine,
alight in the white house.
Now the child
is grown, you
are gone, and nothing is
safe. The white house, drifting in its trees
by the clouded lake, is a slow rocking boat un-
manned but full; October's hand turns wind
 to firelight for moon's
last orphan.

September 2021

posted for 

Process Note: This poem is written in the triquain form, consisting  of seven line stanzas with lines of 3,6,9,12,9,6,and 3 syllables respectively.


Images: Old house, author unknown, via Sunday Muse  Fair Use
Autumn Day circa 1986,  © joyannjones 


  1. This was such a beautiful read - too many wonderful lines and images to quote, but I especially love the opening image of a sky of milk and water.

  2. The moon's last orphan!!! That's fabulous. The whole thing, but you really landed that.

  3. The didgeridoo music is amazing.

  4. From sky of milk and water to moon's last orphan, every line is delicate and powerful all at once. It creates a mood and feeling as strong as the didgeridoo music itself. An amazing triquain Joy!

  5. This is how I feel when I see a forlorn old house some place, that looks as if it knew happier days. I always wonder what went on there, the loves, the arguments, the comings and goings, and wonder why everyone finally left it empty like that. There was one house in particular that I used to see fairly often. It was up on a hill just beside a busy road, and surrounded by trees. There was a long dirt drive up to it, and in late afternoon, the sun would come through the empty windows from the west and light it up in golden melancholy. Every time I passe by it, I wanted to go look at it (but I was working) and was so curious as to what the story was behind it, what its history was. I doubt that it is even still there. I imagine it was only the big hill it was on that saved it for as long as it did.

    I can't leave without saying how much I loved the form and also the phrase "wild as wine." You hint at the child and others who lived in the house, without telling too much. Wonderful stuff, Joy.

  6. "trees bent over brown water by the weight of locusts'
    spell chanting out the night, the old gods'
    didgeridoo. There were
    always dogs

    in the yard,"

    what a great line! i don't know how you whip poems like this out so fast. i always have to build a skeleton first, and then let the poem grow in organically over a few days, or even weeks. always a pleasure to read joy

  7. If I ever learn to write modern fables, it will be because of poems like this. This captivates me and creates the season around it.

  8. I love this. I read a fairy tale of nurture and memories. Wonderful write.

  9. Your poem reads much longer than it is ... imagination kept me filling in the blanks. Mine, not yours. The triquain form is one I haven't tried ... and now I'm inspired of course. PS love the little snapshot.

  10. The shape of your poem is gorgeous. I really like how you linked the stanzas together. There is a cornucopia of visual imagery that brings it to life. The sadness of the last stanza as the place is drained of comfort and safety brings it to a rueful conclusion. Beautiful form, beautifully executed!

  11. 'bells/ of laughter rung on blue sheets' is such a striking image to me - laden with memory and emotion, wrung with sleep and love. and such a photo from 1986! your smile rings thru. ~

  12. This is beautiful. Your descriptive lines formed vivid pictures in my mind and created a somber mood. Lovely.

  13. Your descriptions are wonderful. I could be standing inside that house!
    You had me at that amazing beginning.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats