House, Not A Home

May 14, 2011
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I Years had been from Home
And now before the Door
I dared not enter, lest a Face
I never saw before

Stare solid into mine
And ask my Business there --
"My Business but a Life I left
Was such remaining there?"

I leaned upon the Awe --
I lingered with Before --
The Second like an Ocean rolled
And broke against my ear --

I laughed a crumbling Laugh
That I could fear a Door
Who Consternation compassed
And never winced before.

I fitted to the Latch
My Hand, with trembling care
Lest back the awful Door should spring
And leave me in the Floor --

Then moved my Fingers off
As cautiously as Glass
And held my ears, and like a Thief
Fled gasping from the House --

Searching for a piece of poetry that I could actually relate to was a difficult task, but as i came across this piece by Emily Dickinson, I Years had been from Home, I instantly could connect it to a major change in my life now. This poem is definitely a piece that hits “home.” The opening stanza of this piece is spot on to something I am facing now, present day.

I am in my freshman year of college, well almost through with it now, but I am in-between homes. As soon as I was settled on what college I was going to it turns out, just by “coincidence,” that for each company that my parents work for a job opened up that they were interested in pursuing. Now before going into further detail, my true home is in Connecticut but now my “home” is in Massachusetts. I am not only a resident for the fact that I go to school in MA, but since I am in-between homes my “home” is also in MA.

Most people are excited to be done and over with school, well maybe not over but out of school for the summer. Everybody just wants a break from school. This year however, my perspective has changed. I am no longer excited for that summer break; school is now my escape from the confusion of what a home really is. School keeps me from going to this “home” that is not mine. School is my break and my breather from something that is unrealistic and false.

My true home, well a house I call my home, is for sale. Yea I can visit during my free-time maybe stay a day or two, but even then it’s not the true home that is has always been to me. When a house is put up on the market it has to be well maintained and super clean at all times so that it is presentable and attractive to possible buyers. There are open houses, meaning the house is being shown like a museum. As prospective clients walk through the house and get their tour of each room on each floor, of course everything looks amazing and intact. I’m sure everyone has been to a house showing, or even a museum, as you look around, if you really start to think about it, everything around you looks fake. Everything looks fake for the fact that there is no life existent within them, they are abandoned and lonely. Looking at the furniture and walking through the house you can feel the abandonment and the sadness of the house that no longer has an existent life and it seems as though it never has since everything is so perfect. When I go home to the house that is no longer my home, it doesn’t even feel like it once used to.

The house that is not my home isn’t as inviting as it used to be; instead it is just dead and unreal. As I walk through the house that is not my home I can see the similarity of what it used to look like, but I still feel as though I am in a stranger’s home because everything is so different. The hole in the blue room behind the door is now covered by the door stop so it won’t ever make a hole again. Lying on my bed in a house that is not my home, I reminisce in all the memories that were once existent in the once lively house. As I move from bed, to couch, to chair, to room, the memories all begin to fade away because I can no longer recognize this house that was once my home. All that is left is the water that begins to form within my eyes but does not come out. I sit on the couch head in hands and close my eyes, take some breaths and just think of all the good and bad times in this house. This house that is no longer my home, will always be a big part of my life and who I am, this house watched me grow from 3 to 18; it has been there for me and been the roof over my head. This house that is not my home has watched me grow up and been there every step of the way. Now as I sit on this couch that looks saggy and sad all I hear is silence instead of its yelling. The only sounds that now exist in the house that is not my home are the occasional creaks and whines from the house. The house that is not my home is more like a doll house without anyone to play with. This house that is not my home has an eerie and fake feeling to it, there is no soul existent. The house that is not my home is waiting for the next family to fill it with life, but for now it resembles a graveyard on a cold night that howls and whistles as it send shivers down your body.

When the house that is not my home was my home it wasn’t always super clean, like spotless, but it was pretty clean. There weren’t strangers walking through my home and examining and admiring the rooms, the house, and the space. It was a home, not a museum. Nothing existent in my home looked fake, it looked familiar and like it belonged. The furniture didn’t look like it would break if you touched it, or that it hasn’t been sat in for years. The furniture fit with the environment and looked as though it belonged in the home with the family in the home. When I walked into my home there was no sadness, you could smell that home-y smell, and feel that warmth welcome you. I could walk through the door take a deep breath and say, “ah, home sweet home.” My home was a place I would want to be and I enjoyed being in. It was filled with happiness and love, the furniture didn’t sag and the house didn’t whine and creak. Instead the house would sing with beauty, and there would always be a noise that would make me recognize I was home. Memories were created daily and life would never be non-existent. My home was a doll house that was a child’s favorite toy, it would be played with every minute of every day. My house resembled a heart that was made of steel, it was a powerhouse that would always be alive and working, nothing could destroy it.

When I go “home” to a place that isn’t my own, and lie in a bed that isn’t mine all that runs through my mind is how I ended up here and the never ending question of what if resounds in my head. When I go “home” there is nothing to do but sit there and stare, and try to take it all in. All that I see is another doll house, but this one is filled with objects that I recognize and things that were once existent in the house I used to call home. This “home” isn’t even a home it is an apartment that isn’t big enough to fit the furniture that existed in the house I once called home. I sit on the couch, well a futon that we call our couch, and as I look around I am sitting in the den, the living room, and the dining area all at once. It is a room of many functions, rather than being three separate rooms like it used to be. The bedroom in this “home” that is supposed to be my own, doesn’t have a single piece of furniture that is mine, that room is as lifeless as both homes. The bedroom that my parents call their own has recognizable furniture, but is not their own. This “home” is as fake as everything else, it is trying to be something it can’t fulfill, it will never replace the house I call home. This whole “home” is as deadly and vacant as the house I used to call home. As I sit in this “home” that is not my own, there is nowhere to go, no one to see, and nothing to do. Even if I didn’t spend my day in this “home” it would still be vacant until late night when its “owners” arrive.

Living in-between houses and seeing the flow/life that they have really opened my eyes. It makes me realize the small things that most people never pay attention to, the little things in life that people take for granted, even if they aren’t that little. As silly as it sounds you can begin to see true emotions and feelings that lie within something so “lifeless.” Once people have a daily routine it is hard to break it, but once that routine is broken it is easy to see those small things that most people don’t notice. Once people begin to see those small things, they being to appreciate them and pick up on the subtle hints. When put in a “vulnerable” state it makes you see things within objects that a lot of others can’t see or begin to even understand.

In the house that is not my home, when it was my home, I never really thought about the small things. I took everything for granted. In my home I could walk out my front door and walk ten steps and be at my friend’s house and be amused for hours. Or I could walk further down the block to my next friend’s house and be amused for hours there. I was in a neighborhood where everybody knew everybody, and it was comfortable to be there. All these small things I took for granted, as well as always having that home-y feeling, recognizing the area I am in, or knowing how to get absolutely anywhere with my eyes closed. All that is now lost and I’m in a daze of how it was in the past days.

All this talk relates back to poetry, because in poetry you need to be able to read between the lines. It is true that the author makes it so that every person takes it differently, and maybe a rare few that truly understand it, but there it still the pictures existent between the lines. Another way to understand poetry is by being able to just clear your mind and read what is in front of you, let the words create the image instead of immediately trying to create an image without even having the full detail yet. With a clear mind it is easier to relate poetry to your life because it is what naturally comes to you over what you are trying to force yourself to see and feel. The small details of poetry is what makes it one big piece, just like the small images is what makes up the big picture. Without little pieces there would be no big picture, because there would be nothing to sum up.

Having a clear mind is similar to an empty room or house. With a clear mind you are letting the poetry form its own image and shape. With an empty room or house it recreates those memories that were once existent, and forms its own image and shape as well. The memories form a big image of what was once existent, just like how the small details of poetry for a big picture.

Emily Dickinson is a very strong writer. She wasn’t afraid to say something; she says what she wants, when she wants and how she wants. Having the type of mentality she does is what lets Emily catch that true emotion that makes it easy for a reader to feel and relate to. I can guarantee that anyone can relate to at least one of her pieces. Not only is Emily someone I admire and whose pieces I enjoy reading, but I can also relate to her pieces and understand the emotion she puts into each one. I thought poetry would be something that I would never be able to relate to, but I have been proven wrong.

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