The House of Haddix: First Mansion

for Louise Cowan

Wisdom builds her house,
But folly with her own hands tears it down.
– Proverbs 14:1

You enter the house to see the house, four walls
And foundation under constant hazard
Of frost and crumbling emotions in time.
You enter the house to see what the house
Is not: these four walls and seven mansions,
The ghostly heads turned from the weariness
Of history, the keepers of the shades
Now gone down to sacred rest and left restless,
Unburied. Enter the house and the senses detect
A quiet genius undisturbed as attic air,
Locked in a tomb, no part of the fixtures
But like a fiction, finding the locus
Where object and memory meet, escape
Time, and maintain vigilance over what
From root cellar grows in the house of Haddix:
Expressed, the elegant elegiacs
In the dust and mold, the fingers of bone
Trace the moistened tracks a snail will make,
Moving toward inevitable lessons of the salt-lick.


  1. Matthew Lickona says

    I don’t understand – how is this related to the Great Seattle Fire?

    • Haddix and Moran were second cousins on Moran’s mother’s side, but they didn’t really get along – Haddix was a bit of a smart ass. Just because his house was burnt by Yanks, he thought he could tell Moran a thing or two about how to fight a fire.


  2. That’s similar to why I tell my son how not to be a failure in life.

  3. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Pretty good poem; pretty great photo. It’s nice to see what Southern Expat’s childhood home looks like.

  4. Louise Orrock says

    I still find your blog impressive in some sense, although I hardly ever read the poems, Perhaps because it’s not an obvious persona with a smattering of the profound. But I am ground down by the surveillance of me, which I would defy most people to put up with on their own for five and a half years – if people haven’t experienced it they perhaps cannot imagine how appalling it is, although the cars didn’t start for half an hour or so this morning, perhaps because I’d been sleeping under the bedclothes after an effort to sleep with fewer of them. And by the dental treatment that has left me unemployable, and and so when I am on the internet I prefer to type myself or else read a book off it: Upton Sinclair’s A World To Win is interesting to read. Not that you’re necessarily looking for my audience.

  5. Louise Orrock says

    I don’t mean to offend those who do that for didactic purposes, but I have noticed it done a lot recently aggressively.

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