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Biography of a House

August 21, 2014


NOTE:  As a follow-up to last week’s post concerning the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, I encourage you to read the outstanding comment by “mj fingerprints” for my August 13 blog post:  in the comments section of my blog, Mary-Jo shared two amazing anecdotes related to The Wizard of Oz.  (Mary-Jo is the editor of the online publication Magnets and Ladders, which you can read at <;.)


Keeping with the house or home theme of The Wizard of Oz, I am sharing with you the following poem which I initially wrote on April 9, 2012, as an exercise–the goal of which was to write a poem of only one sentence.  Additionally, this poem was crafted to include enjambment; so, you will find some closely related words falling into different lines.  Reviewing this nonfiction poem after more than two years, I recently made some slight revisions to the 2012 version.  I hope that you hold in your memory at least one house that is as dear to you as the one in this poem is to me.



Biography of a House in the Heartland


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



In a locket

in my heart,

I keep and remember this

precious place

with clumps of lilies-of-the-valley clinging

to her east side

like a child’s hand to her father’s hand

while the perennial porch swing, successful hummingbird feeder, and wroth iron

bedeck the large front porch from where

three points of the compass can offer a view of

the lawn (west of the white-rocked driveway) sinking

(due to the abandoned underground coal shaft filling with water)–along with

the field of Christmas trees, the wheat fields and corn fields and

some cattle to the north

until the east span is revealed

between the blue spruce and the gob pile of shale

atop which is unveiled the southern vista of

the field that rolls back to the small woods from where

one can easily walk to the back door of the house

built by my grandfather in 1914

(the year his youngest, my mother, was born)

and lived in by my parents from after

my dad’s four and a half years in World War II until his death at age 84 when

my mother walked circles in the snow

until a neighbor came to help

at this house

where a cerebral hemorrhage took away all

but the memories

and the heart

of a house

in the Hoosier heartland.



With blessings for your house,

Alice and Zoe


August 21, 2014, Thursday



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  1. After Bill had his first stroke, and it was determined that he wouldn’t be walking anytime soon, I, also, had to find another house that could be more easily made accessible to a wheelchair. Fortunately, I wasn’t attached to the house where we were living. It was just a rental. I now own the house I found for us, and if the time comes, it’ll be hard to let it go. Thank you for the memories.

    • Abbie–Thanks for sharing. I am looking forward to the release of your new book in just a few days. Receiving your new collection of poems in my mailbox will be a treat. Good luck with your new publication! Alice

  2. I consider myself blessed to have lived in this house that overflowed with love and beauty. I am also blessed to have a sister who describes the house so eloquently allowing the precious memories to live on, not only in my heart for me to cherish, but also in writing for our family and friends to treasure.
    Love, Mary

    • Mary–Thanks for your meaningful addition to my poetic thoughts about the place we will forever call “home.” AJ

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