Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

The Old House

by Paul Sherman

Can you hear the creaking and the whistling in the eaves?
Can you hear the scuttling and the rustling of the leaves?
Can you stay at ease while all the sounds surround you  
in the old house?

Can you see the owls hanging high upon the roof beam?
Can you see the other eldritch things as their eyes gleam?
Can you close your eyes while the creatures keep you company
in the old house?

Can you smell the mustiness and rankness of the air?
Can you sense the odour of the dead thing in the chair?
Can you be impartial to the atmosphere that lingers
in the old house?

Can you feel the cobwebs as they brush against your face?
Can you touch the evil that still hangs about the place?
Can you mind the softness of her hair as you loved her
in the old house.

Can you feel the fear as you think of what you’ve done?
Can you see the lights approaching as the soldiers come?
Can you hear the stick a-beating on the solitary drum while you wait
inside the old house?

Can you sense the cold against your skin as they draw near?
Can you feel the rope around your neck when they get here?
In spite of her betrayal, are you sorry that you killed her
in the old house?

Added: 24.03.2011