Saturday, September 22, 2007


I took a walk through your neightborhood today
and discovered that we had something in common.
We both live on quiet streets, mine public, yours private.
Similarities ended there.

My front door opens to the world welcoming friends and family in.
I strolled by houses on your street and could not see a front door,
so well-hidden were they.

Casual landscape of brilliant flowers, shading trees, and cobbled walk
set out a welcome mat that lead to our front door.
The intricate and formal arrangement of trees and shrubs formed
impenetrable walls that kept your front doors out of sight.

Basketball hoops and tetherball poles sit in the church parking lot -
unused throughout the week, explode with activity on weekends -
a moving picture across from my ordinary home.
I stopped for a moment staring in the direction of where
I can glimpse the roof of what must be an imposing building.
Is that a stand of tall fieldlights I see?
Do they illuminate a private court?
What games are played there?

Tennis anyone?

I am a visible invitation to take a moment to rest
on my front porch, to any who pass by.
But looking at the entrance of the road that leads
to the roof of the hidden house,
I wonder how long that driveway is;
and is there a gatekeeper, a final wall to penetrate,
near the front door?

I have church bells, a school, a parking lot;
all signs of life in motion.
I see none of that near your front door.

But we do share that one thing in common - the quiet.
My quiet is the gentle buzz of life.
Your quiet is the quiet of protective walls.

Perhaps we both have what each of us needs most of all,
after all.


Julie Marie said...

This is SO powerful.

There is not much of that in Bismarck, but yes, we do see some signs of it - in Southport, the elite development down by the river. What those homebuyers didn't realize - I think - is that the RIVER is still free and we can see right into their back yards.

(I don't get much chance to go on the river but one of my book club friends was able to borrow her brother's pontoon for two memorable book club meetings on the boat!



miss*R said...

it's a long way for you to walk through my neighbourhood!

this is a wonderful read, Annie... sad that so many people close them selves off from the neighbours..

Gawpo said...

When you started talking about fieldlights, the first thing I thought of was Pedretti Field. Do you know where it is? Dan and I are classmates (Go Bulldogs! Class of '72! Raw!). His father, Atch Pedretti, was our coach. Dan got to be the quarterback, wouldn't cha know it?

Confession: I looked in my mail box for something from you because you said you were sending something. I finally made it to the box after a long time (because I rarely go there) and sure enough, there it was----my "something" from Annie. But being in a hurry to get home after my 12 hour gig at work, I tossed it on the seat and have not yet opened it. I just now remembered it!!!!!

Like I said---Confession.


I will go out to my rig on break and find it. xo, G

AnnieElf said...

You are too funny, Gawpo. Can't wait to hear back about the "something". LOL

Mary Timme said...

My door is private, also. We expect so much of those who minister to us. The altars were full today. Blessings!

trailbee said...

I moved my front door from the back of our house to the side. It opens to the entire house. However, having lived in the city, you can now only reach me by dirt road, and a winding, downhill driveway, to a home that looks to the mountains. I prize our privacy and peace and quiet.

lila said...

I think with TV, aircondtioning and the loss of our "front porch" time, we just don't know our neighbors as well as people used to! Your poem is an interesting look at the continuation of this trend!
I like the friendliness of your home which comes through!

Geri said...

Interesting that you choose Doors to elaborate on. I'm working on a piece about Doors and the secrets of Doors. And Trees. Strange but true. The writing is lovely,and I'm glad that it might have originated on paper from me!

Janet said...

I wish we could get back to the old tradition of sitting on the front porch. People knew their neighbors then and front doors were always open. I must admit that most of our living is done in the back of our house!

Your writing is so thought-provoking and so natural. You definitely have a gift.

Kahshe Cottager said...

I think I like your house best of all! I would love to sit with you on your front porch!

Clare said...

Hi Annieelf! Great job of contrasting the different doors/places and the feelings evoked by both. I also love your welcoming front porch!

gautami tripathy said...

What a wonderful read! Very powerful. You took me into a journey of sorts.

tinker said...

Your part of the neighborhood sounds lovely...thanks for sharing your 'open door.'

Jo said...

This is beautiful. The last line perfect and I love both the concept and poetry of :
'all signs of life in motion'. For me there is no life without this!

judie said...

Sure made me think, Mz. Annie. Great words. I like your house best, I think. The other one is probably lonely inside.

Lea said...

I love our big old front porch. We wave to neighbors passing by and they wave back. I drink my coffee there and catch the first rays of the morning sun... And in our back yard... there is a secret garden, a world private and nurturing. How grateful I am to have both public and private doors... Great post Ms. AnnieElf!

paris parfait said...

I like the contrast between protective isolation and being a welcoming neighbour. This could be about so many towns in so many places.

tumblewords said...

Porches and keys to others' lives are rare - you have the key!

kimberley said...

I can relate to this. There are so many gated communities and walled of houses here in Orange County, California. In particular the gated communities look stale and lifeless with their almost identical houses. I prefer the "risk" of living life out in the open!

spacedlaw said...

I still think you approach on life is the best of the two. quiet is fine, but quiet without life is death.

Marcia (MeeAugaphie) said...

I love quiet, I love private, but I need people, front porches, neighbors that live life out loud nd not hide between tall walls and silence.

Enjoyed your poem very much.