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An Empty House at Night


Quiet enough at noon among its trees
 And weed-grown paths that slumber in the sun,
The empty house seems settled back at ease
 Watching the gray years drift by, one by one.
Here bees may drone and plunder at their will
 In gardens long forgotten—here a bird
May twitter under eaves where all is still
 And somnolent—where never voice is heard.
But let night come!—the old house is alive
 With sound and motion with each wind that sighs!
An empty house at night becomes a hive
 Of creeping monsters with a thousand eyes.
Each leaf that falls is like a giant's stride
 Across a roof velvet with moss and mold—
Here settling timbers creak—here dragons hide
 To slither from their attics, queerly bold.
The empty rooms are peopled in the gloom
 With hordes of shapeless, voiceless ghosts that roam
Through doors and windows and from room to room
 Of this lone place that once was known as Home.
Winds weep and wail the long nights through—old doors
 Move back and forth propelled by unseen hands
On hinges long unused—along the floors
 Sly forms may stalk the boards in fearsome bands.
Huge spiders spin their curtains, gray and wide,
 On grimy windows shutting out the light
For fear some passer-by may see inside
 The ghostly things that haunt the place at night.